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Holiday Glow Shines on Apple

Updated from 3:34 p.m. EST

Wall Street analysts gave investors in Apple (AAPL - Get Report) an early Christmas present on Monday: a bundle of upbeat reports that helped send the company's shares to an all-time high.

Apple's iPod digital music players appear to be a holiday hit, selling out or in short supply at a number of retailers, the analysts noted. That, plus the potential for an even better year next year, led analysts at Deutsche Bank and Piper Jaffray to raise their price targets on Apple's stock.

"Our checks over the Thanksgiving weekend suggest that demand for iPods and iMacs is strong and that Apple has sufficient supply to meet demand (so far)," said Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore, who raised his price target on Apple to $79 from $60. "We believe Apple is off to a very strong start to the holiday season."

Apple has been a non-investment-banking client of Deutsche Bank in the last 15 months.

With the help of such sentiments, Apple's stock edged upward to as high as $71.07 -- a new high -- in intraday trading on Monday. At the close, the company's shares were up 32 cents, or less than 1%, to $69.66.

Investors have been particularly bullish on Apple in the last six months. While the company's shares have more than doubled in the year to date, they are up 94% just since mid-June.

And many on Wall Street expect the bull run to continue.

The company's revival began with its launch of the popular iPod four years ago. Sales of the devices now comprise about one-third of Apple's total revenue, and for years this has been the fastest-growing part of its business. If the analysts' reports are correct, the company's digital music players are as in as high demand as ever this holiday season.
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