Apple shares gain the most in two months on Tuesday, tech giant plans to bolster iPhone production by 30% in first half of 2021

According to a report by the Nikkei newspaper on Tuesday, Apple Inc (AAPL) intends to produce up to 96 million iPhones during the first six months of 2021, or an annual increase of nearly 30%, due to strong demand for the company’s 5G handsets.

Apple shares closed higher for the fifth time in the past ten trading sessions on NASDAQ on Tuesday. It has also been the sharpest single-session gain since October 12th. The stock went up 5.01% ($6.10) to $127.88, after touching an intraday high at $127.89, or a price level not seen since September 3rd ($128.84).

Shares of Apple Inc have risen 74.20% so far in 2020 compared with a 14.36% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2019, Apple’s stock went up 86.16%, thus, it again outperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.

According to Nikkei, Apple suppliers have been asked to manufacture between 95 million and 96 million iPhones, including the latest iPhone 12 along with iPhone 11 and SE models. However, the report highlighted such a target might be threatened due to an industrywide shortage of essential components.

Apple intends to manufacture up to 230 million iPhones in 2021, which would represent a 20% surge compared to 2019. Yet, such an objective will be regularly reviewed and revised depending on consumer demand, Nikkei said.

The report also stated that Apple was currently working on a new Apple TV model, while planning an aggressive production schedule for its MacBook Pro and iMac Pro for next year.

Analysts on average forecast a 5.8% increase in iPhone revenue to $59.19 billion during Q1 of 2021.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 37 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Apple Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $133.00, with a high estimate of $160.00 and a low estimate of $74.10. The median estimate represents a 4.00% upside compared to the closing price of $127.88 on December 15th.

The same media also reported that at least 23 out of 40 surveyed investment analysts had rated Apple Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 10 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 2 analysts had recommended selling the stock.

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