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Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 05:01 am PT (08:01 am ET)

Strong Chinese iPhone 5 launch taken as another sign Apple stock is undervalued

Two prominent investment firms view the record breaking opening weekend for Apple's iPhone 5 in China as a sign that the company's shares are undervalued, with strong performance likely to show up in this quarter's financials.

RBC Capital Markets said this week the news that Apple sold two million iPhone 5 units in China over its opening weekend as "a positive as the company continues to outpace the previous iPhone 4S launch setting up for" a positive December quarter. The firm stuck with its Outperform rating for AAPL, as well as its $750 price target.

Meanwhile, analysts at Wells Fargo see a strong Chinese open as keeping Apple on track to meet or beat Wells Fargo's prior estimate of 46 million iPhones sold in the December quarter. The firm sees the potential for some seasonal drop-off following a strong holiday quarter, but Wells Fargo maintained an Outperform rating, with a valuation range between $710 and $730.

iPhone 5


Wells' analysis, though, did see potential risks for Apple in the near future, with slowing growth a possibility due to tough comparisons, as well as the possibility of disruptions due to legal disputes and potential supply constraints. The report also drew attention to what it called "evolutionary versus revolutionary steps in innovation" as possible cause for concern.

Wells Fargo had an overall positive outlook on Apple, though, saying it believes the iPhone 5 will wind up as "the largest product cycle in consumer electronics' history," and calling Apple's brand, innovative DNA, and ecosystem "unmatched" within the industry and sure to result in a continuation of Apple taking value share across its core markets.

Other analysts have also reacted positively to Apple's blockbuster start for the iPhone 5 in China. Sales were so strong that Apple issues a press release to tout them on Sunday night — the first time the company has ever done so for sales in that region.