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Apple prepping for an iPhone 8 'super cycle,' ramping up production, Credit Suisse says

  • Even after the big tech sell-off in recent days, Credit Suisse is still bullish on Apple shares.
  • The firm reiterates its 12-month Apple price forecast of $170, representing 16 percent upside from Tuesday's close.
  • Analyst Kulbinder Garcha cites the firm's checks with Apple's Asian suppliers, which show the company is preparing for strong iPhone 8 demand.

After a big pullback in technology shares Friday caused the Nasdaq composite to post its worst week of the year, some investors are concerned it may be the start of a bigger drop for the sector.

Apple shares are down 5 percent for the past three trading days through Tuesday, representing a loss of more than $40 billion in market value.

But Credit Suisse still believes a big Apple rally is ahead.

The firm reiterated its outperform rating on the smartphone maker, saying its checks with Apple's Asian suppliers point to strong sales ahead for the next iPhone.

"We remain convinced that the iPhone 8 product cycle will be significant in terms of driving multiyear unit growth, and we maintain our conviction on Apple's ability to introduce new higher pricing tiers with an improved mix," analyst Kulbinder Garcha wrote in a note to clients Wednesday entitled "Supply chain update, looking forward to super-cycle."

The company's shares are still one of the market's best-performing stocks this year. Apple is up 27 percent year to date through Tuesday compared with the S&P 500's 9 percent return in the same time period.

Garcha reaffirmed his $170 price target for Apple, representing 16 percent upside from Tuesday's close.

The analyst said the firm's checks with Asian suppliers revealed an iPhone production level increase for the second half of this year to 156 million units from 145 million units.

"We note that Apple has historically raised iPhone prices along with key updates," Garcha wrote. "Given its affluent user base, a significant feature upgrade, limited price elasticity shown so far, as well as Samsung's higher pricing points of the S8 devices, we believe our ASP [average selling price] assumptions could prove conservative."