Cowen upgrades Apple to 'outperform,' envisions OLED iPhones with new form factors

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Cowen and Company upgraded its outlook on AAPL stock to "outperform" on Wednesday with a $135 price target, telling investors it believes Apple will return to growth with this fall's "iPhone 7" and beyond.

Analyst Timothy Arcuri and his team have been on the sidelines with Apple since mid-2015. But this week, they became buyers once again, citing the anticipated September debut of a next-generation iPhone.

Even if the "iPhone 7" is only "evolutionary," Arcuri believes Apple could benefit from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus buyers who may be ready to upgrade their two-year-old phones.

Arcuri was also encouraged by this week's rumor that Apple is working on a new iPhone design with a 5.8-inch AMOLED display that could arrive as soon as 2017. To him, adopting OLED in 2017 could solve "growth concerns" for Apple, and also allow the company to create iPhones with new form factors, such as edge-to-edge displays.

"Flex OLED gives AAPL a key new degree of freedom on product design, while '17 adoption provides a 'bridge' to a new cycle of innovation that should accelerate in '18 and beyond," Arcuri wrote.

Finally, he also noted that shares of AAPL still trade at about a 25 percent discount when compared to large-cap technology peers, and a 30 percent discount when contrasted with the S&P 500. The current valuation, to him, provides a "solid backstop" for the company, which he believes should give investors the confidence to buy in.


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