At least eight brokerages raised their price targets on Apple Inc Wednesday, a day after the company posted stellar quarterly profit on record iPhone sales and forecast strong third-quarter revenue.
Apple shares, which have risen 16 percent this year, were up about 6 percent at $258.50 in pre-market trade. They closed at $244.59 Tuesday on Nasdaq.
Altogether, Apple is executing exceptionally well across all product segments and geographies and has given us increased confidence in the company's long-term growth outlook, Thomas Weisel Partners said.
BofA Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig said Apple's valuation is compelling, particularly based on the growth potential for its Mac and iPhone segments. These should outweigh the near term slowdown in iPod units.
The analyst raised his price target on the stock to $300 from $260 and maintained his buy rating.
Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey raised his price target on the stock to $270 from $240, but maintained a neutral rating, saying he considers the stock to be fairly valued.
The analyst said the substantial revenue and earnings upside in Apple's March quarter highlights the power of the company's expanding product line-up as well as the leverage in its model.
He expects the trend to continue through 2010 and into 2011 as the iPad and the next-gen iPhone ramp.
The iPad has sold more than 500,000 units of its wi-fi model in the United States, in the week after its April 3 launch. The high-speed mobile version of the iPad will hit store shelves on April 30, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Deutsche Bank, which raised its price target to $350 from $325, said robust iPhone and Mac demand, international expansion and new product cycles should drive continued momentum.
It raised its iPhone estimates to 41 million from 37.8 million units in 2010 and to 50 million from 46 million for 2011.
Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones in the March quarter -- more than double the figure of a year ago and way above estimates -- driven by strong, broad-based, international demand for the smartphone, some of it due to the addition of new carriers in key overseas markets.
Barclays Capital said the third quarter EPS forecast was quite conservative and sees more new products, including a major iPhone upgrade cycle, later in the year.
Apple's ongoing shift to aggressive pricing is expected to maximize the company's revenue opportunity across all product segments, notably in the nascent tablet segment where it will enjoy a clear first mover advantage with iPad, Thomas Weisel said.
Apple projected revenue of $13 billion to $13.4 billion in the June quarter and earnings-per-share between $2.28 and $2.39.
Barclays raised its price target on Apple's stock by $15 to $315, while Thomas Weisel raised it to $320 from $300.
Susquehanna raised its price target on the stock to $300 from $275, UBS raised its target to $315 from $280, while Macquarie raised its target to $325 from $250.
(Reporting by Manasi Phadke and Mary Meyase in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy and Maju Samuel)