Stock Market

For years, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was a darling on Wall Street. However, investors soured on technology stocks last year — and today, not every analyst favors AAPL stock. At the end of the day, investors must weigh the positives and negatives before considering a share position in Apple.

Analysts’ ratings aren’t the be-all and end-all of investing. Yet, they can help financial traders sift through the data and come to a decision. So, how does the analyst community feel about Apple in 2023?

As it turns out, analysts are only agreeing to disagree about Apple. With that in mind, let’s delve into the variety of expert opinions on Apple, and perhaps arrive at an investment thesis on the stock.

Analysts Envision Slight Upside for AAPL Stock

Overall, Wall Street is neither extremely bullish nor extremely bearish on Apple. The consensus rating is “moderate buy,” while the average analyst price target on AAPL stock is $170.18, which is slightly higher than the current share price.

Some experts have made more bullish-leaning calls, though. For example, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives raised his target price on Apple shares from $180 to $190 and maintains an “outperform” rating on the stock. Per The Fly, Ives cites a “modest uptick in demand coming out of China for Apple,” along with “a clear demand rebound happening in this key region post December despite the uncertain macro backdrop.”

Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani also issued an “outperform” rating and a $190 price target on AAPL stock. Daryanani noted that Apple “never hired aggressively through the pandemic and doesn’t need to go through extensive headcount reductions unlike peers.” However, while Apple hasn’t implemented layoffs, the company is reportedly delaying bonuses and limiting its hiring activity in some areas.

Some Analysts Are Less Enthusiastic About Apple

While some analysts are unabashedly bullish about Apple, others are less enthusiastic. An example is UBS analyst David Vogt, who issued a “buy” rating but didn’t raise his $180 price target on Apple shares.

Per The Fly, UBS analysts estimate that Apple’s “App store revenue growth is trending ‘flattish’ quarter-to-date, up just 31bps year-over-year.” Furthermore, the analysts state that the company’s “sequential improvement on a quarter-to-date basis is modest.” However, they also acknowledge that Apple’s “growth in the U.S. continues to outpace the rest of the world.”

Vogt’s call, however, is downright optimistic compared to the outlook issued by analysts with LightShed Partners. They downgraded AAPL stock from “neutral” to “sell” and slapped a $120 target price on Apple shares. As reported by The Fly, the analysts pointed to “below consensus estimates given the firm’s more conservative outlook for iPhone sales and moderating growth expectations in Services revenue.”

Moreover, the LightShed Partners analysts expect the “lengthening of the smartphone replacement cycle” to “persist into calendar 2024.” On top of that, the analysts see “increased risk to iPhone sales in China.” This, evidently, is “due to retaliation related to a worsening relationship between the U.S. and Chinese governments.”

So, Is it Time to Buy AAPL Stock?

As you can see each analyst has apparently valid reasons for leaning bullish or bearish on Apple this year. Personally, I’m feeling neutral about the company. As you may recall, Apple’s year-over-year (YOY) revenue declined during fiscal 2023’s first quarter.

Apple also missed Wall Street’s revenue and earnings estimates for that quarter. Therefore, I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic about AAPL stock right now. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to buy the stock, as investors can wait for more data and then make an informed decision.

On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

David Moadel has provided compelling content – and crossed the occasional line – on behalf of Motley Fool, Crush the Street, Market Realist, TalkMarkets, TipRanks, Benzinga, and (of course) InvestorPlace.com. He also serves as the chief analyst and market researcher for Portfolio Wealth Global and hosts the popular financial YouTube channel Looking at the Markets.

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