Credit Suisse is bullish on Apple shares as the tech company prepares to announce its earnings report this week. The bank reiterated Apple’s stock as outperform and maintained its price target of $184, which implies upside of 26% from where shares closed on Friday. Credit Suisse also held steady on its revenue estimate of $121.6 billion for Apple’s fiscal first quarter and per-share earnings of $1.92. “We see potential upside to our estimates which are below the Street,” analyst Shannon Cross said in a note to clients on Monday. Cross highlighted two key factors that could drive upside to the firm’s estimates. First, she pointed out the weakening of the U.S. dollar through the course of the quarter, which “benefits revenue from a translation perspective.” She also noted that margins could benefit because Apple raised prices in many countries to offset the strong dollar. Second, Cross pointed out that the fiscal first quarter of 2022 makes for “relatively easy” comparisons to the latest quarter because results in that period last year were constrained by more than $6 billion of backlog, including in iPhone and iPad. There could be possible hurdles for the company in this latest quarter. For instance, Cross cited potential challenges to the iPhone’s revenue in this past quarter due to production difficulties at a manufacturing site in China . However, she noted the increased availability of iPhone 14 models in recent weeks, thanks to improved production output. Meanwhile, Cross estimates Mac revenue having declined $3.1 billion, or 27% on a quarterly basis due to backlog fulfilled during the fiscal fourth quarter. Year-over-year revenue for Macs are similarly predicted to have declined 23%, in-line with Apple’s prior remarks anticipating a “very challenging compare” against the first fiscal quarter of 2022. Currency headwinds and the timing of inventory wind down prior to the M2 MacBook Pro’s January launch are believed to have contributed to the drop in revenue. Other potential stumbling blocks include weakened consumer demand and the impact of Apple’s decision to halt product sales in Russia last spring, which will likely continue for the foreseeable future, and are also predicted to slow revenue growth. Cross anticipates this headwind will first affect the company’s Wearables, Home & Accessories category products. While shares have rallied more than 10% since the beginning of 2023, the stock is down 15% in the past 12 months. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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