Peter Misek: 'A substantial shift in attitudes toward Apple'October 8, 2013: 5:51 AM ET
An Apple bear spent a week in Asia and came back a changed man. Again.
FORTUNE --Peter Misek, the top Apple (AAPL) specialist at Jefferies, has taken a lot of heat lately on two fronts: From investors for his bearish stance on the stock, and from the tech press for starting a basket full of Apple rumors that didn't pan out. At one point this year Cult of Mac assembled A History Of Horrible Apple Predictions From Peter Misek.
But the truth about Misek is that he's neither a bear nor a bull. He's a just an impressionable guy who likes to travel a lot, reports just about everything he sees and hears, and comes back believing whatever he was told last. (See here, here, here and here.)
Case in point: The report he filed Monday -- after his most recent trip to Asia -- in which he flipped his Apple recommendation from Hold to Buy and raised his price target nearly 50%, from $405 (one of the lowest on the Street) to an above-consensus $600.
The report was a typical Misek travelog, complete with Japanese iPhone 5S availability posters and a trunkful of industry gossip.
Among the highlights:
- A "substantial shift" in suppliers' attitudes toward Apple: "In contrast to earlier this year when suppliers boasted that Apple would not be able to push them around anymore, they are now scrambling to be in Apple's supply chain as competitor ramps have not gone as planned."
- Samsung's setback: "Galaxy S4 sales missed internal targets leading Samsung to not raise foundry prices for Apple like we expected."
- Xiaomi's winner: "Red Rice is the bestselling smartphone in China. It is sold out almost everywhere and people have to wait to get it. If Xiaomi broadens Red Rice availability, it could be a significant blow for many other OEMs."
- Apple's product roadmap: iPad and iPad mini launches in October (although Retina yields are "terrible"), an iWatch launch in March ("though it could be shifted"), and a 4.8-inch iPhone 6 next September ("While Apple would like to pull the iPhone 6 launch forward, we believe that it is highly unlikely due to the switch to a new display technology").
Misek is about as confident about that last one -- the iPhone 6 with the jumbo screen -- as he was last year about the imminent arrival of what he now calls "this unicorn," an Apple HDTV.
But as even Cult of Mac acknowledges, Misek sometimes gets it right.