CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- One thing is clear for investors eager to hitch a ride on the Apple (AAPL) express: They need to work out their strategy well ahead of the tech giant's next big product launch.
Apple, which hit a new 52-week high last week, remains one of tech's hottest stocks after climbing almost 35% this year. And with new iPhone and iPad launches looming on the horizon, all the signs are pointing to even more upside.
So what's the best way to play the stock?
"You want to be long on Apple" Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Company, told The Street. "Apple is the poster child for secular growth these days -- I think we're going to see the CDMA iPhone and the new iPad in the March timeframe." A new iPhone and iPad would easily offset any seasonality, said Marshall, who thinks that Apple will probably exceed expectations next year.The analyst adds that his $345 Apple price target is based on "conservative" forward earnings per share of $18.25 for 2011, a figure that could now easily surpass $20. "Profitability for the company is increasing," he explained. "It's all about the iPhone and the iPad." Investors, however, should not expect to see a massive hike in Apple's share price in the wake of any new product launches. Apple shares gained less than 1% on the day the iPad was announced in January and dipped 2% when the iPhone 4 was unveiled in July. "Apple products get a great amount of exposure before they are launched -- what you see is the stock accelerating into the launch," Avi Cohen, an analyst at Avian Securities told TheStreet. "
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