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AAPL’s Q3 call ‘one of the most bullish,’ say analysts, as stock hits $158 in pre-market

Apple’s Q3 financials seem to have been well-received, with AAPL stock sitting at $158 in pre-market trading at the time of writing – up more than 5% on yesterday’s close. The company reported revenue of $45.4b and sales of 41m iPhones, 11.4m iPads and 4.29m Macs.

Most analysts also seem pleased, with Macquarie describing the earnings call as “one of its most bullish in recent memory” – even if Barclays did sound a sour note …

Business Insider has a round-up of analyst takes, with Macquarie noting growth across categories and expressing optimism about the prospects for AR.

We thought AAPL’s 3Q call was one of its most bullish in recent memory. Despite a coming big refresh, iPhone posted better than expected growth, and virtually all products in almost all geographies posted solid growth […]

We also think it is important to note AAPL and Tim Cook’s clear excitement about the potential for AR. We expect that in addition to being a key marketing and functional driver of iPhone hardware, AR is going to be directly monetized via the App Store. As Cook stated on the call, we “couldn’t be more excited about AR”, and despite our WAY too early call on VR, we think AR will have some important near- term and many significant long-term implications for Apple and others.

William Blair wasn’t deterred by current poor performance in China, focusing on the trends rather than the history, and also seeing AR as a key selling-point.

We remain bullish on the iPhone segment due to a combination of positive demand trends in emerging markets (both China and India), a weak competitive landscape in the smartphone space (with Samsung, the only high-end alternative, witnessing structural challenges), and the company taking an aggressive approach to enabling the device for next-generation applications (such as AR).

Morgan Stanley said that future prospects for the iPhone were likely to live up to expectations, and also believes the company to be well-placed in all its product lines.

Strong new product lineup in coming months, including iPhone, Watch 4 and HomePod, on top of recovering demand in refreshed iPad and Mac demand, should support […] building momentum.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Citi are all bullish. While cautions were noted – with particular emphasis on the saturated smartphone market – Barclays was the only one to express significant skepticism about the company’s prospects.

Pre-launch fervor could get frothy … Yes, that’s right; iPhone is just trudging along before the next launch. The Sep-Q outlook came in better than expected, which could fuel the Bulls’ exuberance that the next iPhone launch could rival the iPhone 6 (IP6) mega-growth cycle. We are somewhat skeptical, though, as Jun-Q results reveal other drivers beyond the iPhone for the incremental goodness. iPhone ASP trends are hardly improving despite what the company referred to as strong IP7 Plus mix. Further, the broader market push to the midrange in smartphones and increasing competitive intensity in China could become bigger long- term headwinds.

AAPL is set to open at an all-time high later this morning.

Photo: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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