GO
Loading...

Boosts ahead for Apple stock: Analyst

Beaten down over the spring and summer, shares of Apple have upside potential in both the near- and long-term, Steve Milunovich of UBS said Wednesday.

"Apple's like a fighter that's been taking punch after punch over the spring and summer, and finally it's going to start fighting back," he said. "I think psychologically this stock could go higher."

(Read more: Waiting for the 'tapernado' to hit)

Milunovich raised his Apple price target to $560 per share from $500 and kept his "buy" rating on the stock, largely on the expected strength of the iPhone 5C, the lower-cost version of its wildly popular smartphone.

On CNBC's "Fast Money," he said that Apple was expected to ship 17 million iPhone units in fiscal 2014, with Asia's telecom behemoth China Mobile accounting for 10 percent of that total.

(Read more: Correction could top 5 percent: Byron Wien)

"We're assuming most of those will be the 5C, the lower-end phone," he said. "And we believe in general there's maybe 100 million people in China that can afford an Apple phone."

A deal with China Mobile could come by the end of 2013, Milunovich added.

That, along with new products set to be unveiled next month, would create a short-term boost for the stock and a stronger long-term product.

(Read more: Buybacks vs. dividends: Bill Nygren)

"I think the stock has a lot of wood to chop to get back toward that $700 level. You need to believe earnings are going to be $50 plus, not that far away. We're now at about $48 for fiscal '15," he said.

"Directionally, we do want to stay in the game. This is the time to own the stock, when you've got new products coming out. People are a bit skeptical. We think that this is a time to begin to buy Apple."

Milunovich also weighed in on activist investor Carl Icahn's big bet on Apple, saying that his holdings amounted to less than 1 percent of outstanding shares.

(Read more: China crash risks are 'overblown': Stephen Roach)

"Apple's relatively recently announced a $60 billion buyback. But the point is that they clearly do more," he said. "We believe that they could easily increase their buyback by 50 percent, which would be accretive to earnings by about $2 per year. I just don't think having done something recently the company's going to feel the need to do more."

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

— CNBC's Patricia Martell contributed research to this report.

Trader disclosure: On Aug. 21, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Pete Najarian is long AAPL; Pete Najarian is long C; Pete Najarian is long BBRY; Pete Najarian is long SBUX; Pete Najarian is long FB; Pete Najarian is long GE; Pete Najarian is long PFE; Pete Najarian is long MRK; Pete Najarian is long LLY; Pete Najarian is long BMY; Pete Najarian is long MNKD; Pete Najarian is long SUNE; Pete Najarian is long KWK; Jon Najarian is long AAPL; Jon Najarian is long EBAY; Jon Najarian is long GRPN; Jon Najarian is long MSFT; Jon Najarian is long QCOM; Jon Najarian is long MSG; Jon Najarian is long TOL; Jon Najarian is long JCP; Jon Najarian is long HLF; Jon Najarian is long CREE; Steve Milunovich is long AAPL; Steve Milunovich is long UBS.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
AAPL
---

Contact Halftime Report

  • Showtimes

    Halftime Report - Weekdays 12p ET
    Fast Money - Weekdays 5p ET