Monday, October 17, 2022

Fiscal 4Q 2022 Final Estimates

As of today's closing price of $142.41, AAPL trades at a 20.0x multiple on my NTM EPS estimate (19.5x when excluding NTM net cash and dividends).

Lowered the long-term (beyond FY23) revenue growth rate by another point or so, now at mid single-digits, yielding mid-high single-digits in long-term EPS growth. New revenue streams won't move the needle for the next 2y and will provide very low visibility of the growth potential even after 3-5y, though the stock price should begin to reflect whatever investors dream up of such long-term potential as soon as we get any announcement, and likely even earlier.

In the short term, I trimmed 4Q22/FY23 revenue and EPS by $2/4b and 7/5¢ respectively, mostly due to FX. During uncertain times ahead Apple could easily decide to emphasize cash conservation but instead I'm going with a more deliberately opportunistic approach, given the attractive share price, by modeling at least $80b of the $86b remaining buyback authorization over the three quarters ending 2Q23 (totaling over $100b for the year and keeping it there for the next 3 years), as well as a dividend increase for next year comparable to the one done in 2018 (+16%) rather than the single-digits raise seen in the last 3 years. I doubt the 14-week Q1 has been considered much in consensus estimates. This represents 4-8% upside and perhaps explains some/most of my divergence for Q1.

Detailed estimates:

3mo ending Sep22  Rev$B   GM%  $EPS
----------------  -----  ----  ----
Analysts consens   88.9     -  1.27
My estimates       90.1  42.5  1.35 (16.14b shares)

Monday, July 25, 2022

Fiscal 3Q 2022 Final Estimates

As of Friday's closing price of $154.09, AAPL trades at a 21.9x multiple on my NTM EPS estimate (21.3x when excluding NTM net cash and dividends).

Trimmed revenue projection by 2-3%, partially offset by slightly more patient opex intensity, still results in long-term EPS growth trajectory holding up at high single-digits, so the 24x projected valuation remains valid, even conservative. The recent market price dip to low-20s multiple offers the now rare opportunity of an average quarterly price below my "fair" (or forward) valuation level (thus the blue dashed line in the chart below), something which used to be the case at all times from late 2008 to early 2017 but has only happened once (Jan-Feb 2019) in the last 5 years. Even after a 20% rebound from recent lows, this still seems an exceptional opportunity for long-term investors. As always, I could be wrong, so do your own due diligence and decide according to your particular risk-tolerance profile.

Detailed estimates:

3mo ending Jun22  Rev$B   GM%  $EPS
----------------  -----  ----  ----
Analysts consens   82.6     -  1.16
My estimates       83.9  43.4  1.22 (16.31b shares)

Monday, April 25, 2022

Fiscal 2Q 2022 Final Estimates

As of today's current price of $161.57, AAPL trades at a 23.0x multiple on my NTM EPS estimate (22.4x when excluding NTM net cash and dividends).

The main question for investors is to what extent do the various current global issues (war, pandemic, new lockdowns, supply chain issues, rising cost of capital, inflation, recession, consumers subscription fatigue, regulation, labor activism... did I miss any?) translate into a longer-term headwind on growth beyond the current year or so. It's anyone's guess, so I'll just share my impressions without much justification (you should research those issues and derive your own conclusions). I do not see a long-term effect on demand, but I do believe management must be asking themselves a big, structural question around manufacturing diversification involving a relatively modest but potentially longer-term impact on current cost structures.

This question is far from exclusive to Apple, impacting the whole electronics industry (and cars, toys, apparel, among many others). The good thing is Apple uniquely has a hefty gross margin cushion from a rising Services mix which allows it to execute almost any product manufacturing transition they may decide to take on with minimal impact on overall profitability. That doesn't mean it would be an easy decision to make, nor easy to execute. It's possible they've already set sail on this course. In any case, don't expect any visibly drastic changes in financial performance, nor dramatic measures or decisions announced. It's a long journey, and the destination isn't necessarily 180 degrees from the current situation. So I've modeled around 1% headwind on the long-term (beyond the next 3-5y) growth projection now at high single-digits, and a bit larger short-term impact over the next quarter or two. I'll leave it at that.

This is the time Apple always updates their Capital Return Program. A brief review of what it's done so far: $484 billion spent to retire 11.4 billion shares at an average cost of $42.59 per share, so almost quadrupled that investment. I expect at least another $25b spent during last quarter, leaving about $15b authorized for buybacks. So, given current $80b in net cash and projected near $110b in FCF over NTM, I think the authorization should be extended by over $120b more until next year, and the quarterly dividend raised by 13.6% to 25 cents per share from the current 22 cents. However, I wouldn't be surprised if management feels no need to be as aggressive (so as not to tip their hand so much) and instead decide on $100b extra for buybacks and 24 cents for the dividend (+9%).

As I promised last time, I'm bumping the long-term valuation multiple to 24x, and plan to take it to 25x for the December quarter preview at the earliest, depending on financial results through the rest of the Fiscal Year, and what's announced in the Summer and Fall events.

Detailed estimates:

3mo ending Mar22  Rev$B   GM%  $EPS
----------------  -----  ----  ----
Analysts consens   94.0     -  1.43
My estimates       96.8  43.5  1.51 (16.42b shares)

Monday, January 24, 2022

Fiscal 1Q 2022 Final Estimates

As of today's current price of $156.05, AAPL trades at a 23.4x multiple on my NTM EPS estimate (22.7x when excluding NTM net cash and dividends).

Consensus growth estimates for FY22 have improved slightly, but still remain well below my estimates. I'm at +11/15% while consensus is 4.5/2.4% rev/EPS growth for the Fiscal Year. The fact that consensus EPS growth is slower than revenue growth proves those are flawed estimates not reflecting the significant leverage from rising gross margins and about 3% lower share count.

Given the market's recent nervousness as well as last report's inline results, I've decided to leave the long-term target valuation multiple at 23x for now. If my March quarter estimates align with whatever guidance clues are provided, then I most likely will raise the multiple to 24x next time, with still one more nudge to 25x hopefully later this year. I'll leave the discussion of potentially huge upside from new product categories to other analysts, but the effect on financials will be gradual over the next 3-5 years, and not felt this year at all. However, investors should anticipate such effects and most likely bring back the trailing multiple up above 30with the stock breaking $200 well ahead of any announcement.

Detailed estimates:

3mo ending Dec21  Rev$B   GM%  $EPS
----------------  -----  ----  ----
Analysts consens  118.4     -  1.89
My estimates      121.3  42.2  1.98 (16.54b shares)