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Why Apple Is Morgan Stanley's Top Tech Stock For 2018

The new iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Apple’s stock will likely have an outstanding 2018, Morgan Stanley analysts told investors on Thursday.

Apple “remains our top pick entering 2018,” the investment bank said of all the tech companies it covers, based partly on the success of the new iPhone X in China. The smartphones have seen a faster growth in purchases than the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that also hit store shelves in 2017, according to CNBC, which earlier reported on the investor note.

In another hopeful sign for Apple, about half of China’s iPhone X buyers previously owned iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. The high appetite for upgrading creates a big opportunity for Apple to sell even more iPhone X next year to people who have even older iPhones, like the iPhone 6s.

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China is a critical market for Apple as it looks to expand its international sales. However, earlier in 2017, China sales were sluggish, prompting some shareholders to question CEO Tim Cook about whether the company was having problems there. Cook has said that he believes China is a major opportunity for Apple. In its most recent quarter, Apple’s China sales rebounded and many analysts expect growth to continue to improve.

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According to Katy Huberty, the Morgan Stanley analyst who led the latest investor note, the number of people switching to Apple’s iPhones in China has increased. And the analyst’s data suggests that more people in China are shifting to Apple from Chinese rivals like Huawei and Oppo.

Huberty didn’t say how many iPhone Xs Apple may sell in China next year, but that the company’s market share is rising.

“These data points show that faster iPhone X penetration, coupled with increasing switching rates to Apple, have accelerated market share gains for the iPhone in China,” Huberty said.

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