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iPhone 5 sales may boost mobile stocks

8:57 AM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) - A wave of Apple iPhone 5 buyers is poised to buoy the stocks of Apple's mobile partners.

Apple stock has risen 6% since Sept. 11, the day before the company unveiled the sixth generation of the iPhone, which hits stores on Friday.

Apple shares reached an all-time high of $702.10 on Wednesday.

Investors are trading on Apple's announcement that it sold more than 2 million phones last weekend in pre-orders and on analysts' increased sales expectations. But Apple stock -- up 73% this year -- isn't the only investment play. The rising tide of iPhone 5 sales is positioned to boost the stocks of businesses whose technologies are packed inside the smartphone and of wireless carriers that will sell the phone.

"If iPhone 5 shipments are stronger than anyone expects, you'll certainly see Apple's stock go up and all of the component suppliers go up," says Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Dale Pfau.

FBR Capital forecasts that more than 50 million iPhone 5s could move in the fourth quarter of 2012, and that 250 million could be sold over the phone's lifespan.

There's no official confirmation of which companies' products were used inside the iPhone 5. That will come later from the first tear-down analysis reports from firms that buy the phone to study its innards. Meanwhile, financial analysts have come up with a list of Apple partners to watch.

Nomura Equity Research cites Apple's iPhone 5, upcoming iPad mini and other tablets as catalysts for component makers. Nomura predicts many of the same electronics in the iPhone 4S -- such as chips from Qualcomm, Broadcom and Samsung -- will be in the iPhone 5. Other chip stocks to watch include TriQuint Semiconductor, Skyworks Solutions and RF Micro Devices.

Rumors of product launches, changes around parts pricing, and shifts in market share for component suppliers can quickly move stocks, Pfau says. "All of us will watch that closely."

Also, carriers that offer the fast-selling iPhone 5 -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint in the U.S. -- should see a steady revenue stream as earnings will focus on iPhone sales.

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