There are a number of excellent reasons to be bullish on Apple (AAPL) stock, according to Wall Street analyst Shaw Wu. Despite already having risen 45% on the year, Wu believes Apple could bake another 25% or more of profit into its share price, based on expectations around what the Kaufman Bros. high-tech analyst calls “several catalysts in the months ahead.”
“We anticipate [Apple’s] new iPhone 3.0 software to ship” in time for the 2009 WWDC in June, Wu said in a report released Monday. He’s also expecting consumer interest in Apple to remain strong with the introduction of new iPhone hardware, also in time for WWDC.
The expected launch of Snow Leopard should be a further catalyst for the Mac business, which has already seen a boost from recent desktop refreshes (iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro). “And last,” Wu said, “the potential for a new form factor, perhaps Apple’s answer to the netbook, with a large screen iPod touch-Mac hybrid” could end up pushing AAPL from its current $119 price to something more like $152.
Less than a month ago, on March 24, Wu removed Apple from his “Focus List” citing the appreciating stock (then up only 19%) and the fact that “many of the product catalysts we were looking for, namely the new iMac, have occurred.” But that was at a point just after the overall stock market had been tanking since January; in the last several weeks the market’s been on a tear and some in the financial analysis business believe the worst of the “recession” is behind us.
For a little more perspective on the inscrutable science of stock price analysis, recall that less than a year ago, when Apple was opening its AppStore and releasing the iPhone 3G, Wu and many other AAPL analysts expected the company’s stock to go as high as $225. AAPL had already topped out just over $200 prior to the AppStore launch and nose-dived to well below $100 by January of this year.