Apple firmly on course for $1 trillion valuation, say analysts

Chase Thilleman receives a high five from an Apple employee as he is first in line to buy the Apple iPhone X at the new Apple Michigan Avenue store along the Chicago River on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated 03 November 2017
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Apple firmly on course for $1 trillion valuation, say analysts

Apple Inc.’s shares hit a record-high on Friday after the tech giant reported a blowout fourth quarter and shrugged off concerns related to the iPhone X, prompting more analysts to put a trillion-dollar valuation on the company.
The stock rose as much as 3.7 percent to $174.26, briefly breaching $900 billion in market value, amid declines in the broader market. The gains added nearly $32 billion to the company’s market capitalization.
The Cupertino, California-based company also forecast a strong holiday quarter ahead, which will include the iPhone X that started selling on Nov. 3.
“We see iPhone X unlocking pent-up iPhone upgrades, especially in China, driving more than 20 percent iPhone unit growth and a revenue and earnings beat in 2018,” analyst Katy Huberty on Morgan Stanley said.
The glass-and-steel $999 phone appeared to have brought back the frenzy associated with iPhone launches — long lines formed outside Apple stores in Asia as fans flocked to buy the new phone.
The company will make 30 million iPhone X units during the current quarter, Nomura Instinet analysts estimated, allaying production worries related to the phone.
Apple said on Thursday it expects first-quarter revenue of $84 billion to $87 billion, at the high end of analysts average expectations of $84.18 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“We – and many others – had feared that guidance could be weaker, reflecting only 9 weeks of the flagship iPhone X and limitations on supply,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said.
At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Citigroup making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $30 to $200.
Of the 37 analysts that track the stock, as per Thomson Reuters data, 31 had a “buy,” or higher rating. None had a “sell.”
With the latest brokerage actions, at least nine Wall Street analysts now have target prices that puts Apple’s market value above $1 trillion. Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White is still the most bullish among Apple analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters, raising his target price further to $235.
Apple’s fourth-quarter results underscored the company’s ability to drive growth not just on iPhones, but across its range of products, analysts said.
The company’s suite now includes five different iPhone models, the iPad, the Mac and the Apple Watch as well as its fast-growing services.
Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, above analysts’ estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. Mac and iPad sales too were above the estimates of most analysts.


US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

Updated 23 June 2018
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US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

  • US tells WTO appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days
  • Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatens to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars

GENEVA: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.
The statement by US Ambassador Dennis Shea threatened to erode a key element of trade enforcement at the 23-year-old WTO: binding dispute settlement, which is widely seen as a major bulwark against protectionism.
It came as US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatened to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars, the latest in an unprecedented campaign of threats and tariffs to punish US trading partners.
Shea told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that rulings by the WTO’s Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade, were invalid if they took too long. Rulings would no longer be governed by “reverse consensus,” whereby they are blocked only if all WTO members oppose them.
“The consequence of the Appellate Body choosing to breach (WTO dispute) rules and issue a report after the 90-day deadline would be that this report no longer qualifies as an Appellate Body report for purposes of the exceptional negative consensus adoption procedure,” Shea said, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Reuters.
An official who attended the meeting said other WTO members agreed that the Appellate Body should stick to the rules, but none supported Shea’s view that late rulings could be vetoed, and many expressed concern about his remarks.
Rulings are routinely late because, the WTO says, disputes are abundant and complex. Things have slowed further because Trump is blocking new judicial appointments, increasing the remaining judges’ already bulging workload.
At Friday’s meeting the United States maintained its opposition to the appointment of judges, effectively signalling a veto of one judge hoping for reappointment to the seven-seat bench in September.
Without him, the Appellate Body will only have three judges, the minimum required for every dispute, putting the system at severe risk of breakdown if any of the three judges cannot work on a case for legal or other reasons.
“Left unaddressed, these challenges can cripple, paralyze, or even extinguish the system,” chief judge Ujal Singh Bhatia said.
Sixty-six WTO member states are backing a petition that asks the United States to allow appointments to go ahead. On Friday, US ally Japan endorsed the petition for the first time, meaning that all the major users of the dispute system were united in opposition to Trump.