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Wed, Nov 24, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Apple shares rise on report

AP , NEW YORK

Apple Computer Inc stock jumped to a four-year high Monday after a major Wall Street firm nearly doubled its price target on the stock, saying that customer satisfaction with its iPod music player is creating "wildfire word-of-mouth marketing" for its Mac computers and other products.

Shares of Apple traded at US$61.63, up US$6.46, or 12 percent, Monday morning on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

Apple shares traded as high as US$64, besting the 52-week high of US$56.91 set Friday. This is the highest the stock has been since September 2000.

The year-low of US$19.25 was set on Dec. 22.

In a research note on Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster raised his price target to US$100 a share from US$52 and reiterated an "outperform" rating on the shares.

"The bottom line from our survey is that 13 percent of iPod users in our sample users were formerly PC users that, following the purchase of their iPod, have already either purchased a Mac [6 percent] or are planning to buy a Mac within 12 months [7 percent]," Munster wrote.

Taking a conservative stance and accounting for possible error, the analyst cut the estimate suggested by the survey in half, putting at 6.5 percent the expected increase in Mac sales by iPod users and reflecting the rate of carryover in his fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2006 estimates.

Fulcrum Global Partners analyst Robert Cihra boosted his December quarter revenue estimate to US$3.23 billion from US$2.86 billion, and now sees earnings of US$0.50 a share instead of US$0.41 a share.

He raised his share price target to US$65 from US$53, saying he expects iPod shipments to double quarter over quarter to 4 million units, driving revenue 300 percent higher than last year.

Apple officials couldn't be reached for comment.

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