Apple: Headed to $800 Per Share

This article was written with Oliver Pursche, of Gary Goldberg financial network. It was part of a series of articles developed under an agreement with to work with a variety of contributors and assist them in delivering actionable investment ideas each week.

News media and analysts have been writing about the Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5 since iPhone 4S sales slowed, causing Apple to disappoint with second-quarter earnings for the first time in a long time. A lot of the opinions at the time went something like, “Sales were slower than usual at Apple, but it’s just in anticipation of the iPhone 5.” And, while it seemed like an easy call – if not downright lazy – it looks like it was the right one.

As of this writing, the stock is within spitting distance of $700. Next target $800. I think it has the umph to do it. Here’s some data points:

Pre-orders: According to several analysts covering the stock, first day pre-orders for the iPhone 5 were 2 million, double the pre orders for the iPhone 4.
Global sales: The iPhone 5 will roll out worldwide to more than 22 countries on September 28.
Carrier sales: Customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T (T) than any previous model both on its first day of preorders and over the weekend.

Growth in global sales: Apple’s plans for an iPhone 5 ramp to 240 carriers in 100 countries by year end. This is very aggressive, but given consumer pull through, in my view it’s achievable.
Legal maneuvers: Friday, a judge at the International Trade Commission said in a preliminary ruling that Apple did not violate patents owned by Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) in making the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad.

There is a bear case to be made here. Within the realm of Donald Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns,” things could go very wrong in unforeseen ways. After all, who would have thunk the Facebook (FB) IPO would be such a disaster, taking with it more than $50 billion of shareholders money? And, while I digress here, next time you run into a “master of the universe” investment banking type in a bow tie and suspenders, you might want to remind him or her that the lead underwriters on the Facebook deal overshot the valuation by an amount approximately equal to the GDP of Bolivia.

The unknown unknowns notwithstanding, I feel confident that Apple will break $800/share. The long lines will appear and the phones will ship and we haven’t even brought up the iPad mini yet.

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