Apple closer as ever to trillion-dollar valuation

Apple has taken a step closer to becoming a trillion-dollar company after the tech giant reported a blowout third quarter and shrugged off concerns related to the iPhone X.

Its shares rose almost four per cent in pre-market trading on Friday, on track to add nearly $US30 billion ($A42 billion) to its market capitalisation. The company is valued at $US868 billion.

The California-based company also forecast a strong holiday quarter ahead, which will include the much-awaited iPhone X that started selling on November 3.

“We see iPhone X unlocking pent-up iPhone upgrades, especially in China, driving more than 20 per cent iPhone unit growth and a revenue and earnings beat in 2018,” analyst Katy Huberty on Morgan Stanley said.

Long lines had already started forming outside Apple stores in Asia as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone.

At least five brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Canaccord Genuity making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $US15 to $US195.

The median price target on the stock is $US180.

With Canaccord’s move, five Wall Street analysts now have target prices for Apple that put its market value above $US1 trillion.

Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White is still the most bullish among Apple analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters with a target price of $US208.

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Apple’s third-quarter results underscored the company’s ability to drive growth not just on iPhones, but across its range of products, analysts say.

The company’s suite now includes five different iPhone models, the iPad, the Mac and the Apple Watch as well as its fast-growing services.

Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended September 30, above analysts’ estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Mac and Ipad sales were also above the estimates of most analysts.

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