Apple shares up ahead of anticipated launch event next week

  • Citigroup, Needham analysts and Wedbush all give Apple a boost
  • Share hike follows positive endorsements
  • Next week’s launch event eagerly awaited amid rumors of video streaming service

Three different analysts have upgraded Apple ahead of next week’s anticipated launch event in Cupertino. Shares in the world’s biggest tech company traded higher on Thursday after Citigroup, Needham analysts and Wedbush all lodged upgrades.

Citigroup boosted Apple’s price target by $50 to $220 per share as analyst Jim Suva said he expected a dividend increase to go with a $100 billion rise in the firm’s share buyback plans next month when the tech giant reports its second-quarter earnings.

Needham analysts upgraded the company’s stock to “strong buy”, and Laura Martin said the company is “most likely to prevail in a direct competition between FAANG ecosystems.”

Meanwhile, Wedbush raised its price target from $200 to $215, citing expectations of the launch of a video streaming service from Apple that will present a direct challenge to offerings from Netflix and Amazon. 

The only investment bank to show skepticism was JPMorgan, with analyst Samik Chatterjee giving an Overweight rating and a $228 price target, citing that the event might not prove to be as significant as others are predicting.

Shares in the tech giant were marked 3.5% higher in the late morning in New York, which extended the year-to-date gains above 23.3% and gives Apple a market capitalization value of just over $900 million.

Apple has already launched a new version of its AirPods earphones and upgraded the iPad Mini and iMac computer. It also revealed a new 10.5-inch iPad Air tablet. All of these products were announced well ahead of next week’s event, which is due to take place on March 25 at the Apple campus in California.