Apple AI Drive, BofA Price Target Boost Take Stock To Record High

Apple  (AAPL) – Get Free Report shares hit a fresh record high Wednesday, powered in party a price target boost from Bank of America and reports that the tech giant is developing generative AI tools to challenge Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChaptGPT.

Bloomberg reported that Apple have been developing the new large-language model, known internally as ‘Ajax’ but has yet to define a clear strategy for rolling it out to consumers. 

Apple, the world’s most-valuable tech company, has fallen behind rivals such as Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) – Get Free Report and Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Free ReportAppl backed OpenAI in the race to develop consumer and business-friendly technologies that harness artificial intelligence. 

CEO Tim Cook told investors in May that AI has “huge” potential, but noted that the group will “continue weaving it into our products on a very thoughtful basis’.”

“I do think it’s very important to be deliberate and thoughtful on how you approach these things,” said Cook. “There’s a number of issues that need to be sorted … in a number of different places, but the potential is certainly very interesting.”

Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan also boosted his price target on Apple by $20, to $201 per share, while holding his ‘neutral’ rating in place, noting that softer iPhone demand will be “somewhat offset by resilience in Services (App Store growth better, subscriptions strong) and FX trends (1% headwind) which is better than guidance of 4% headwind.”

Apple said iPhone revenues rose 1.5% from last year to $51.33 billion over the three months ending in March, linked in part to the sale of high-end iPhone Pro models that were jammed-up over the holiday period. However, emerging market sales were also a key driver that helped offset what CFO Luca Maestri called “macroeconomic challenges.”

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Apple shares  were marked 0.73% higher in early afternoon trading and changing hands at $195.15 each, a move that extends the stock’s year-to-date gain to around 53.3% and values the world’s biggest tech company at around $3.07 trillion. The stock hit a fresh all-time of high of $198.22 each earlier in the session.

Apple breached the $3 trillion mark late last month for only the second time on record, and its shares are up more than 46.7% so far this year, as megacap tech stocks continue to tighten their grip on U.S. stock performance.

Apple reached the $2 trillion threshold in August 2020, thanks in part to a surge in iPhones and Mac sales linked to the global pandemic. That was nearly two years to the day after it became the first U.S. company to breach the $1 trillion mark.

Its shares were last valued at just over $3 trillion in early January 2022, when the stock traded at $182.86, but more Apple shares were outstanding to boost its overall value.

Apple will publish its third quarter earnings on August 3, with analysts looking for a bottom line of $1.19 per share, down a penny from the same period last year. Revenues are forecast to slip 1.75% to $81.575 billion.

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