updated 12:35 pm EDT, Thu April 20, 2006
Needham maintains \"hold\"
Needham & Company today maintained its "hold" rating on Apple shares, saying that it will continue to do so until the company's transition to Intel-based Macs is closer to completion. "Apple escaped the first quarter of its transition to Intel processors, delivering results in line with our forecast. The company faces at least two more quarters where demand could be time shifted to subsequent quarters," analyst Charles Wolf wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "However, once the transition is complete by the first quarter of fiscal 2007, we believe Mac shipments have the potential to surge on the strength of the Mac's newfound ability to run Windows applications along side Mac applications." Apple shipped 8.5 million iPods during its second quarter, which proved modestly higher than Needham's forecast of eight million units. The analyst also noted that Apple's gross margin of 29.8 percent was far higher than expected, saying that falling flash prices were largely responsible for the $0.09 upside in earnings per share.