January 12, 2014, TheStreet.com
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (TheStreet) — Apple(AAPL) closed out 2014 with December sales stronger than in years past, thanks to continued high demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to Cantor Fitzgerald’s "Apple Barometer," which looks at the sales of Taiwan-based suppliers that generate a majority of their revenue from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White noted that Apple Barometer sales in December fell by 3% month-over-month, which is considerably better than the average 9% decline seen over the past nine years. By the firm’s calculation, fourth-quarter revenue for the barometer was 26% higher than in the previous quarter, compared to an average of 20% higher over the past nine years.
White rates Apple a buy and has a $143 price target on the stock, which has a median price target of $122 of among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Shares of Apple closed higher, gaining 0.11% to close at $112.01.
Shares of Apple suppliers, such as Invensense(INVN) , Cirrus Logic(CRUS) and Qualcomm(QCOM) were mixed in Friday trade, ending the day down 0.06% to $15.48, up 0.90% to $23.65 and down 0.11% to $74.42, respectively.
Cantor may have a more aggressive price target than other firms, but most are anticipating stellar sales of Apple’s larger iPhones — and improved margins as a result — when the company reports its fiscal 2015 first quarter results on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Cantor is also bullish on the prospects of the Apple Watch when that hits the market later this quarter.
"We continue to believe Apple is in the early stages of a ‘super cycle,’ and the data points we uncovered around the competitive landscape at International CES this week provides us with further confidence around Apple’s opportunity in the smart watch segment with Apple Watch," White wrote in the firm’s Friday note. "At the same time, we remain positive on the iPhone cycle with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, while we believe Apple can gain more traction with the iPhone franchise in China this year."
White also noted Hon Hai and Pegatron, two top suppliers that are not measured in Cantor’s barometer, had stronger fourth-quarter sales than in years past.
–Written by Jennifer Van Grove in San Diego, Calif.