Thursday, October 05, 2006

Calls of Note Part 1

- Banc of America i previewing Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) noting that ar this point, they believe that Sept iPod units will be around 8 million, helped by sell in of new products. Firm is at 8.4 million. They believe that CPUs will be approx 1.5 million units, whereas they are currently at 1.4 million units. MacBooks remain the key driver of unit growth in CPUs. Net, the firm sees upside to Street estimates by over $100 million in revs and some modest EPS upside, for the Sept Q. It is unclear what type of disclosure Apple will give below revs for the Sept Q, given its pending options issue. For the Dec quarter, they believe that Apple can deliver 1.5 million to 1.6 million CPUs (we are 1.4) and approx 15 million iPods (we are 15.8), with some tension to the downside. Firm believes that Street estimates are achievable for the Dec quarter, but do not offer much upside. They believe that guidance will likely fall below Street estimates for Dec, if Apple provides guidance, given its pending option issue. They do not see any additional product launches until Jan.

- Prudential is initiating coverage of Apple Computer this AM with a Neutral Weight rating and a $74 price target, based on a 25x multiple on FY'08 EPS estimate of $2.97.

Forecasting Apple to grow its Mac share from ~2.5% to ~4% over the next two years. Near-term catalysts include: 1) the new product ramp based on Intel architecture, 2) recent iMac price cuts, and 3) the potential for an expanded relationship with Best Buy and Circuit City.

Firm's checks indicate Apple has plans for a cellular phone in the near future. We estimate that every 1 point of share in this market represents $0.20-$0.30 of earnings power for the company. However, they are concerned that the combination of a slowing media player market and increased competition from Microsoft adds risk to Apple's iPod margin and market share.

They see risk/reward balanced at current price levels and will remain on the sidelines until they get better visibility into the competitive dynamics of the media player space and/or into new product ramps.

Notablecalls: These two comments appear neutral-to-negative to me. AAPL possibly guiding down for Q4? Hmmm! Also, Prudential notes they are concerned about the combination of a slowing media player market and increased competition from Microsoft.

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