Bets on iPhone 8 Turn Taiwan Airline Into a Stock Superstar

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  • China Airlines has surged more than 30% in eight days
  • Analysts see firm’s cargo business boosted by Apple orders

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If shares of Taiwan’s largest airline are anything to go by, Apple Inc.’s next iPhone will be a runaway success.

China Airlines Ltd. has surged more than 30 percent in the past 8 days, adding about $4.1 billion in market value and outperforming almost every other member of MSCI Inc.’s Asian benchmark. Behind the gains is investor optimism the airline’s cargo operations will benefit from orders by Apple for the island’s many suppliers.

"China Airlines is doing well in the cargo business, and with Apple introducing the new iPhone in September, there will be an uptick in demand for shipping electronics components," said Jin Chang, analyst at President Capital Management Corp.

Three brokerages have lifted their ratings on the stock in the last week, while analysts are projecting the best quarterly profit since 2010. Taiwan is home to some of Apple’s largest suppliers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. As previously reported by Bloomberg, Apple plans to release three new phones in the fall: successors to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus as well as a new, revamped model that sits at the high-end.

China Airlines climbed 4.7 percent on Wednesday to close at its highest level since August 2015.

The carrier is not alone. Eva Airways just had its best week in a year, while shipping companies have also surged, with Evergreen Marine Corp. jumping 34 percent since Aug. 10, lifted by improving earnings. Transportation companies are catching up with a rally in technology shares that’s boosted the benchmark Taiex to near its highest level since 1990.

— With assistance by Yu-Huay Sun

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