Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) gains so far in 2020 have electrified investors. Despite beginning the year with a market valuation of more than $1.2 trillion, the technology giant's stock has surged 70%, creating fortunes for its shareholders along the way.
And yet, one analyst believes Apple shares are set to move even higher following its upcoming stock split.
On Wednesday, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives reiterated his outperform rating on Apple and boosted his price forecast from $515 to $600. His new target price represents potential gains of roughly 20% for investors, based on shares' current price near $500.
Ives sees as many as 350 million people upgrading to Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 model -- which is expected to include much-awaited fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology -- over the next 18 months. The analyst says this iPhone supercycle is a "once in a decade" profit opportunity for Apple -- one that many investors are not yet fully appreciating.
Will Apple's shares continue to surge after its stock split?
If iPhone 12 sales blow away expectations, as Ives predicts, then Apple's stock will likely climb to $600 -- and potentially even higher -- in the year ahead. The iPhone is, of course, Apple's most important product, and new phone sales tend to also boost sales of apps and services, all of which could help to drive profits sharply higher.
Apple's upcoming stock split could also help to fuel a rise in its share price. Despite the fact that a stock split does not alter the fundamental value of a business, many investors do get excited about the opportunity to buy more shares at a lower price.
For these reasons, Apple's stock could approach Ives' $600 pre-split ($150 post-split) target price much sooner than many investors currently expect.
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