This morning, Apple (AAPL) is sporting a price of $97.97 — just dollars away from the head-turning $100 mark and near an all-time high (last month’s monster seven-for-one stock split considered).
If Apple stock hadn’t been sliced into smaller portions, it would be trading for around $690. But looking through a split-adjusted lens, the current all-time high for AAPL is $100.70 — a level reached in fall 2012.
So can Apple stock make it into triple-digit territory?
Well, it sure has momentum in its corner. AAPL has chugged 22% higher since the start of the year — tripling the broader market’s climb — and boasts a sweet 55% improvement over the past 12 months.
Not too shabby.
Plus, analysts are optimistic that AAPL stock can hit the $100 mark. In fact, the current median target for Apple is $106 — around 9% higher than Friday’s close.
Apple stock also recently received an upgrade from Barclays, which swapped out a “hold” rating for a bullish “buy” rating. Oh yeah, and Barclays thinks that Apple stock will chug right past the $100 mark, all the way to $110.
What has analysts so bullish about AAPL? Well, Apple did report solid earnings last week, including a 12% year-over-year earnings increase — good enough to beat expectations — and 6% revenue growth. Of course, skeptics will note that Apple’s forecast wasn’t anything to go crazy about. The company is forecasting sales between $37 billion to $40 billion for the current quarter, which is below the consensus of $40.44 billion.
But even with that in mind, many experts aren’t concerned. Just consider Jim Cramer, who shrugs off the low expectations as the classic AAPL habit of underpromising and overdelivering — a strategy that helped Apple stock during its tech darling days.
Many analysts also were excited about the recent 7-for-1 stock split, arguing that it makes Apple stock more appealing to more investors and that it reflects general company confidence. Plus, the iPhone-maker continues to reward shareholders in other ways, including its solid 1.92% dividend yield — pretty generous for a tech stock — and its continued share buybacks.
AAPL grabbed another $5 billion of its stock in the third-quarter alone, for example. In fact, Daniel Sparks of The Motley Fool calls the buyback program the main reason to own Apple stock, writing:
“It’s incredibly difficult to predict anything in the stock market more than 10 years out, but looking out into the next decade, there’s one thing regarding Apple that seems fairly clear: The tech-giant will likely continue to authorize meaningful share repurchases.”
All in all, there seems to be a lot in Apple’s corner right now — and that makes a more short-term prediction easy as well: AAPL should make it over the $100 hump, no problem.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.