Apple is looking sweeter and sweeter.
The stock climbed by more than 2% on Monday, putting its year-to-date gains at nearly 42%, after J.P. Morgan analysts raised their price target on Apple for what they expect to be stronger-than-anticipated sales of the company’s newest iPhone. As of Monday’s close, the firm’s $265 price target implied 18% upside for Apple shares.
But the tech stock could face some near-term pain before J.P. Morgan’s story plays out, warns Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak.
“It’s made a higher low and a higher high, so that’s very positive,” Maley said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation,” citing the weekly chart of Apple’s stock.
“However, you look at the intermediate-term chart … and [the relative strength index is] getting quite extended,” Maley said, referencing a widely followed momentum indicator. “If [the stock] rallies a little bit more, it’s going to get … [to] an overbought condition that has led to significant sell-offs in the past.”
That could put Apple in a tough spot as the stock nears its all-time high of $233.47, Maley said.
“When you have that kind of extreme coming at a time when a stock is testing its all-time high, you run the risk of a double top,” he warned. “Basically, what I’m saying is … if you’re a short-term trader, you could play it on the short side, [with] its all-time high as the stop. And if you like it and you believe in J.P. Morgan’s call, I think you’ll get a chance to buy it at lower levels so it can work off that overbought condition.”
Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, was in J.P. Morgan’s camp.
“The brand may be tired, innovation may be com[ing] to a standstill, but Apple’s grip on the consumer remains very, very strong,” he said in the same “Trading Nation” interview. “Ultimately, I kind of agree with J.P. Morgan that the [iPhone] 11 is kind of underestimated at this point.”
Schlossberg predicted some tail winds from marginal buyers, who he said would switch to the iPhone 11 “if for nothing else than just simply the fact that the battery power in the [iPhone] 8 is so horrible.” Apple’s newest iPhone software includes a feature meant to preserve battery life.
“The other interesting thing, by the way, is that 5G actually hasn’t really come on board as fast as I think people thought, so that sort of plays to Apple’s strength at this point in terms of the replacement cycle,” Schlossberg said.
That largely echoes J.P. Morgan’s call. The firm expects 5G, the next generation of wireless network technology, to begin to meaningfully drive iPhone sales in 2020 and 2021.
“It’s basically a clean, safe bet [on] a product and there’s just nothing else out there that’s just going to blow it away, and for that reason alone, I think the upgrade cycle still favors the Apple story,” Schlossberg said. “Therefore, it still favors, I think, going to fresh highs. So, I do like the J.P. Morgan call. I think it’s kind of underestimated in this marketplace and is probably much more of a buy than it is a sell at this point.”