SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley says he expects Apple's stock price to surge as it becomes more apparent that consumers are buying a lot more of the company's high-end iPhones and iPads than the cheaper versions during the crucial holiday shopping season.
In a report issued Wednesday, Walkley said his survey of stores indicates that the iPhone 5S released last month is outselling the less expensive 5C by a two-and-half-to-one margin. That's important because Apple Inc. makes more money from its higher-priced phones.
Based on the sales trends that he detected, Walkley expects Apple's iPhones to sell for an average of $632 during the quarter ending in December. That would be slightly below the average price of $642 per iPhone at the same time last year, but well above earlier this year when Apple's average iPhone prices fell below $581.
Walkley says he expects a similar phenomenon to occur when iPad releases the next generation of its iPad. Those tablets are widely expected to be unveiled at an Oct. 22 event that Apple has scheduled in San Francisco.
The standard iPad featuring a 10-inch display screen is likely to be dramatically thinner than earlier models, Walkley predicted. He believes the changes will be enough to give the next version of the standard iPad a substantial sales edge over the next version of the iPad Mini, which features an 8-inch screen and sells for less.
Walkley reasons the rising average prices of Apple's most popular devices will ease investor concerns that the Cupertino, Calif., company's profit margins will continue to sag as they have during the past year amid sifter competition from rivals such as Samsung Electronics, Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The analyst raised is price target on Apple's stock from $560 to$580.
Apple's stock hasn't closed at that level since last December. The company's shares rose $2.54 to $501.22 in Wednesday afternoon trading.
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