Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) crossed the $600 threshold when the markets closed at 4:00 eastern on Monday, up more than $8 with its market capitalisation now at $517.65 billion.
According to real time quotes published by NASDAQ OMX, published on May 5, Apple is at $602, up by 1.58 per cent; previous close was at $592.58; today's high at $602.50, today's low at $588.01; 52-week high at $599.43, 52-week low at $388.87.
Analyst Amit Daryanani from RBC Capital Markets, in a note to investors obtained by AppleInsider, raised Apple's price target to $645 for 2015, up from original price target of $625; his upside scenario puts a price target of $725 per share in the coming years. He maintained his "outperform" rating for Apple.
Apple Inc. will be repurchasing approximately $44 billion in shares through December 2015, Daryanani predicts. This figure implied that the company is targeting more than $6 billion in buybacks per quarter, buying an additional 50 million shares at an average price point of $590. The company is seen to be increasing its fiscal year 2015 earnings per share to $48.96.
Daryanani recommends for investors to maintain "long" on AAPL.
Catalysts to the $645 surge
Daryanani predicts the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the launching of the highly anticipated iPhone 6 and iPad update in the Decemner quarter will spark continued price hike for Apple stock.
Apple's announcement of its Q2 revenue of $45.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per diluted share propelled the stock to reach its current price. The reported revenue was up from $43.6 billion and net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.
"We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services. We're eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement.
For its fiscal 2014 third quarter, Apple has the following as guidelines.
§ revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion
§ gross margin between 37 per cent and 38 per cent
§ operating expenses between $4.4 billion and $4.5 billion
§ other income/(expense) of $200 million
§ tax rate of 26.1 percent
The announced share buyback program to $90 billion from $60 billion with increased dividends by 8 per cent was also a big contributor to the price hike (dividend of $3.29 per common share, payable on May 15, 2014, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 12, 2014.)
"With annual payments of $11 billion, Apple is among the largest dividend payers in the world," the company said in a statement.
Lastly, the seven-for-one stock split could be the major catalyst, in which each Apple shareholder by June 2, 2014, will receive six additional shares for every share held on the record date.