updated 04:30 pm EST, Mon February 11, 2008
Apple, Citigroup Top Picks
Apple stock was subject to slight gains as Citigroup added the Cupertino-based company to it Top Picks Live list, which allowed the computer manufacturer to maintain a Buy rating, with a target of $212 per share. According to AppleInsider, shares of the company have been on a slight rollercoaster ride since its December peak of $199.83, taking a total hit of 37-percent since that time. Citigroup expects Apple's earnings per share will beat consensus by 10 cents, possibly more, for its predicted March quarter.
One of Citigroup's deciding factors is that of the potential 3G iPhone, which is expected to ship within the first half of 2008, as well as the expansion of the device into new European territories. "The introduction of 3G along with price cuts and additional carrier relationships in Europe should give investors increased confidence in Apple’s stated target of 10 million iPhone unit shipments during calendar year 2008," said analyst Rich Gardner.
Contributing to Apple's lowered share price is most likely the iPod shuffle – the low-end model of the iPod line, which hasn't seen a major update for over a year.
"Several sell side analysts have recently cited cuts to March quarter build plans for both iPod and iPhone," Gardner wrote. "We believe that these cuts did occur and that March quarter iPod and iPhone build plans are both below the current sell-side consensus."