Apple Stock Is Rallying On A Report iPhone Demand Is Stronger Than Expected
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Apple Stock Is Rallying On A Report iPhone Demand Is Stronger Than Expected

By ERIC J. SAVITZ
Wed, Dec 16, 2020 5:09amGrey Clock < 1 min

Apple shares were higher on Tuesday following a report that the company is increasing production of its 5G iPhones amid surging demand.

Nikkei Asia reported that Apple (ticker: AAPL) plans to produce 95 million to 96 million iPhones in the first half of 2021f, a nearly 30% increase from a year earlier. The target includes the new iPhone 12 line as well as older iPhone 11 and iPhone SE models.

According to the report, Apple plans to build up to 230 million iPhones in total in 2021. The story said that, according to an executive at one key Apple supplier, demand is stronger than expected in particular for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Demand for the entry-level iPhone 12 Mini, by contrast, is described as “a bit sluggish.”

The story also said Apple plans “an aggressive production schedule for its high-end computers,” including the MacBook Pro and the iMac Pro, and that Apple is planning a new Apple TV set-top box for watching streaming services.

Apple didn’t comment on any element of the Nikkei Asia report.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said 96 million iPhones in the first half of calendar 2021 would be “well ahead of Street expectations.” He said Street consensus for the fiscal year ending in September 2021 is for Apple to produce 215 million phones—although there is a bull case that would have the total north of 240 million.

Ives continues to see “an unprecedented upgrade cycle for Apple with a major holiday season on the horizon over the coming weeks.” He maintained his Outperform rating and US$160 target on Apple shares.

Apple shares closed up 5.01% to $127.88 Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%.

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Mortgage holders should brace themselves for more pain as the Reserve Bank of Australia board prepares to meet tomorrow for the first time this year.

Most economists and the major banks are predicting a rise of 25 basis points will be announced, although the Commonwealth Bank suggests that the RBA may take the unusual step of a 40 basis point rise to bring the interest rate up to a more conventional 3.5 percent. This would allow the RBA to step back from further rate rises for the next few months as it assesses the impact of tightening monetary policy on the economy.

The decision by the RBA board to make consecutive rate rises since April last year is an attempt to wrestle inflation down to a more manageable 3 or 4 percent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the inflation rate rose to 7.8 percent over the December quarter, the highest it has been since 1990, reflected in higher prices for food, fuel and construction.

Higher interest rates have coincided with falling home values, which Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee says are down 6.1 percent in capital cities since peaking in March 2022. The pain has been greatest in Sydney, where prices have dropped 10.8 percent since February last year. Melbourne and Canberra recorded similar, albeit smaller falls, while capitals like Adelaide, which saw property prices fall 1.8 percent, are less affected.

Although prices may continue to decline, Ms Conisbee (below) said there are signs the pace is slowing and that inflation has peaked.

“December inflation came in at 7.8 per cent with construction, travel and electricity costs being the biggest drivers. It is likely that we are now at peak,” Ms Conisbee said. 

“Many of the drivers of high prices are starting to be resolved. Shipping costs are now down almost 90 per cent from their October 2021 peak (as measured by the Baltic Dry Index), while crude oil prices have almost halved from March 2022. China is back open and international migration has started up again. 

“Even construction costs look like they are close to plateau. Importantly, US inflation has pulled back from its peak of 9.1 per cent in June to 6.5 per cent in December, with many of the drivers of inflation in this country similar to Australia.”

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