A lot, says Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster.
In a note to clients issued early Thursday, Munster offered his estimated earnings per share under the new and old rules for fiscal years 2009 (which ends in two days) and 2010:
Apple wouldn't be required to switch to the new accounting method until Dec. 2010, but Munster expects the company will start as soon as possible, probably with the new fiscal year that begins next week.
"While this has been expected for the last month, we believe this will be a positive for shares of AAPL," he wrote, before raising his price target to $235 from $186.
Of course it's possible that the impact of the rule changes have already been factored into Apple's share price. The stock closed Wednesday at $185.50, having soared 137% over the past eight months. The stock is up more than 10% since Aug. 31, when Munster first reported that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) task force was considering the rule changes.
What are the new accounting rules? Munster does a pretty good job of explaining them:
In the end, the vote was unanimous.
After months of lobbying by a stack of blue-chip high tech companies, the FASB -- the entity that sets accounting standards in the United States -- voted 5-0 Wednesday to approve an accounting change that could boost the reported earnings, and the stock price, of dozens of Silicon Valley firms.
The new rules are expected to be especially beneficial to Apple (AAPL). They would put MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 23, 2009 3:52 PM ET
[UPDATE: The FASB voted 5-0 Wednesday to approve the rule change. See here.]
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the organization empowered by the SEC to set accounting standards in the United States, is set to vote Wednesday, Sept. 23, on rule changes that could significantly affect Apple's (AAPL) reported earnings and stock price, according to a report to clients issued Tuesday by Morgan Stanley's Kathryn Huberty.
The new rules -- for MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 22, 2009 8:13 AM ET
A change in accounting rules for which Apple (AAPL) -- among other high-tech companies -- lobbied heavily won tentative approval last Thursday. The change could significantly affect both the company's reported earnings and its stock price.
The new rules are in draft form and must still win final approval from the FASB -- the organization empowered by the SEC to set accounting standards in the United States.
But they have the force MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 14, 2009 9:51 AM ET
|AT&T cuts prices again|
|The medical marijuana ad that never aired, despite contrary media headlines|
|Get ready for 'over-the-top' TV|
|Chrysler Group orders donated Vipers destroyed|
|China to fight pollution with drones|