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Apple's "Virtuous Circle" Fuels More Love


Another day, another new Apple (AAPL) price target, this time courtesy of Credit Suisse (CS), which cited the tech giant's strengths across PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

"In a multi-device world, Apple is materially advantaged versus peers," explained Kulbinder Garcha, an analyst at Credit Suisse, in a note released on Thursday. The tech giant, he adds, has built a "virtuous circle of competitiveness" with its Macs, iPads, and iPhones offering consumers an "unrivaled" computing experience and driving sales across its product portfolio.

Credit Suisse raised its Apple estimates and price target on Thursday.

Credit Suisse raised its Apple price target from $700 to $750 on Thursday. Citing higher iPhone volumes, the firm also hiked its Apple earnings estimates for 2012 and 2013 by 5% and 10%, respectively, to $50.14 a share and $60.72 a share.

Other analysts have highlighted Apple's so-called "halo" effect whereby consumers buy one product, such as Apple's iPod, and then graduate to other offerings, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple, which hit yet another new all-time high earlier this week, has ridden a wave of positive analyst sentiment recently. On Wednesday, for example, Sterne Agee raised its Apple price target to $750 and boosted earnings estimates, citing the instant success of the new iPad.

The Cupertino-Calif.-based company has already confirmed stellar demand for the third-generation iPad during its debut weekend last month. This momentum appears to be continuing, according to Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu.

"What we are picking up are strong follow-up demand trends for the new iPad despite a very strong start of 3 million units sold in the first few days," he explained, in the research note accompanying the price target hike.

"We believe this is likely because the new iPad is a significant upgrade with an HD retina display, quad-core graphics, and 4G LTE wireless. In addition, the price cut on the iPad 2 appears to be helping as well."

Sterne Agee raised its iPad forecast from 11.5 million to 12.3 million for the March quarter, and from 60 million to 63 million for calendar year 2012. For fiscal year 2012, the analyst firm hiked its revenue estimate from $160 billion to $161.2 billion, and its earnings forecast from $43.8 a share to $44.5 a share.

Last week Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets predicted that the company's shares could reach $1,001 in the near future.
Piper Jaffray also recently raised its price target to $910 from $718, and said Apple will be the first company to have a $1 trillion market cap.

Apple shares rose $0.70, or 0.11%, to $625.50 in afternoon action.

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