Analyst: Apple Could Triple Its Dividend and Reach $175

Andy Hargreaves and his team at Pacific Crest have issued a bullish call on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), setting a bull-case price target of $175 per share, about 25% higher than today’s price of $140.68.

The reasoning behind this bull call has little to do with Apple’s operations. There’s no bold prediction of a new, sexy iPhone or record-breaking sales. Pacific Crest is bullish on Apple’s financial engineering potential.

Hargreaves wrote in a note to clients on Friday that once President Donald Trump changes tax repatriation rules – like he promised in his campaign -- Apple will be able to cheaply repatriate its massive cash pile that is being held outside of the United States. This will increase the company’s domestic cash balance from $16 billion today to $220 billion.

Apple could then use that capital to increase dividends, up share buybacks, or even go shopping for an acquisition or two.

Hargreaves went on to say that if it can cheaply bring that money back home, "Apple’s current dividend per share of $2.28 could easily double to around $4.56." This higher dividend would then support the share price if the next iPhone didn’t sell as well as anticipated, which many analysts anticipate.

$220 billion would also allow Apple to make a meaningful acquisition. Certain analysts are calling for Apple to target Netflix, which has a market cap of $62.2 billion. It could also make a splash in the auto sector. Remember, the company is working on the Apple Car.

Apple shares didn’t react to the report, rising a mere 0.05% in Friday afternoon trading.