updated 10:00 am EST, Mon November 19, 2007
Apple shares highlighted
Apple's holiday track record and historical stock gains from Macworld Expo (MWSF) anticipation have spurred Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster to highlight the Cupertino-based company above and beyond the norm. "We are adding Apple to the Alpha list, expecting material upside in the next 90 days," the analyst said. Piper Jaffray's Alpha List serves as a spotlight on the potentially fast-growing stock prices of companies which are likely to experience major gains in the near term, usually as a result of catalyst events. The analyst reiterated his "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a price target of $250.
"Given their recent pull-back, shares of Apple should benefit from sales of Apple's most innovative product lineup ever during the seasonally strong December quarter as well as new product announcements at Macworld in January," Munster said.
The analyst believes that Apple's new iPod touch, iPod classic, and iPod nanos give the company its strongest product line-up for the holidays in company history, and that the iPhone will see a strong December quarter driven by robust holiday demand.
"Over the last four years, shares of Apple have increased by an average of 42.5 percent between October 1st and December 1st," Munster said. "We believe there is potential for similar gains this year for several reasons (Apple closed at $156.34 on October 1st, 2007). In recent years Apple has announced new or updated iPods in the fall, and this year is no exception."
Macworld Expo seen as Apple catalyst
Apple shares often gain further in the December quarter as a result of hype surrounding the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Apple is well known for unveiling new products as well as updates to its existing offerings during the convention, which is held in early January each year.
"The Macworld factor has, in part, led to an increase in the share price of 37 percent on average throughout the December quarter," Munster said.