It was only a matter of time.
Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets placed a $1,001 price target on shares of Apple, becoming the first analyst on Wall Street to break the $1,000 forecast barrier on the tech juggernaut.
White, who initiated coverage of the stock Monday at his new firm, cited the shift to 4G LTE networks, growth in China and the of a launch of a flat-paneliTV to justify his price target, which values Apple at nearly $1 trillion.
“Driven by an ever expanding portfolio of innovative products, a growing integrated digital grid, unmatched aesthetics and a brand that is able to touch the soul of consumers of all backgrounds, Apple feveris spreading like a wildfire around the world and we see no end in sight to this trend,” wrote White, who previously for Ticonderoga Securities, in the report. “As such, we believe the Apple story still has a long way to play out in the coming years and we expect the next 12-18 months to be particularly exciting for the company on multiple fronts.”
Shares of Apple gained following the report and are now up more than 50 percent in 2012. The stock is less than $12 from its all-time high of $621.45 reached last week.
This isn’t the first time White has shocked the Street with a high price target on Apple. Last July, when Apple was trading around $390, he came out with a $666 price target on the stock. That forecast doesn’t look so shocking anymore.
Because of White, Topeka Capital, a small firm founded in 2010 and based in New York City, now sports the highest price target on Wall Street on Apple. Out of the 46 forecasts collected by Thomson Reuters, the previous high was $800 and the low is $270. The median forecast is $699.50, according to Thomson.
White justifies the target by forecasting that Apple’s price-earnings ratio may expand as it continues to meet growth expectations and as its declaration of a dividend attracts a whole new class of investors.
“Trading at a P/E (ex-cash) of just under 10x our CY13, we believe the stock still has significant upside potential,” wrote White.
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