Cash Move, New Products Will Send Apple to $600: Analyst
Although Apple is expected to have a weak quarter, the results have already been priced into the stock and the focus will be on the second half of the year when Apple launches new products and puts some of its $140 billion of excess cash to work, said Channing Smith, an Apple shareholder.
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"What we think is going to happen is Apple gets a pass on this quarter and investors are going to start looking towards the summer and the fall, when you start to see new product announcements. We're going to see some excitement over what Apple is going to do something with its cash, that's our expectation," Smith said. "But we think the focus really goes into the second half of the year, a new product announcements, potential announcements with China Mobile and a lower priced iPhone."
Apple's stock has fallen significantly since its all-time high of $705 last September. The steep decline has driven some investors to pressure Apple to unleash some of its $140 billion cash load, in hopes that a dividend or buyback program would give the stock a boost.
While CEO Tim Cook has said the company is seriously considering plans for a cash move, the company has not made any such announcement.
Last week was the first anniversary of Apple's previous announcement of a dividend and buyback program, and many investors have high hopes the company is close to revealing an increased plan.
(Read More: Apple to Announce Cash Move Soon: Analyst)
"I think what you are seeing is a lot of investors are expecting a dividend announcement, we expect to see that announcement when they announce the quarter. Hopefully, that will take some of the pressure off the earnings," Smith said.
Several analysts have downgraded Apple, slashing their earnings and revenue forecast for the company, which bodes well for the company because it sets the bar low for Apple for the coming quarter, Smith said.
Smith, who recently increased his firm's stake in Apple, said that although he sees new products and a new dividend plan driving the stock price back up to about $600, it's important for investors to realize that Apple's stock is no longer a "hyper-growth stock."
"We need to realize that we are entering a mass adoption stage, so what you are going to see is earnings are going to come down into the mid-teens, revenue is going to be in the mid-teens," he said. "The days of the hyper growth are probably over."