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Apple's 2011: A Preview

Apple Shares

Apple shares are currently trading around $320, although Wall Street expects it to rise. Pacific Crest recently raised its 12-month Apple price target from $330 to $355, and Peridot Capitol is going even higher: "The sheer earnings power of the company and future growth opportunities allow me to comfortably predict a share price between $350 and $400 over the next 12-18 months," said Chad Brand of Peridot. "We continue to hold the shares confidently."

Joel Achramowicz, senior vice president of research at investment bank Blaylock Robert Van is less bullish, though. "I don't think that the stock is going to do nearly as well as it did [in 2010]," he said. "I think it's close to peaking -- price is very important to people [and] the risk is too high." Achramowicz, who holds a neutral rating on Apple, also said, "If something happened and there were a slip or a manufacturing issue, [the share price] could move precipitously south."

Apple's cash haul, currently at $51 billion, will also cause a few investor questions over the next year. "I would like to see Apple pay a dividend starting next year," said Scott Grannis. "The amount of cash on the balance sheet is so large, and so likely to keep growing, that it is very difficult to see the rationale for not paying a dividend."

Shareholders should probably not hold their breath, if recent comments from Jobs are anything to go by. "We have demonstrated a strong track record of being very disciplined with the use of our cash ," he said during the company's fourth-quarter conference call. "We would like to keep our powder dry because we believe that there are one or more unique strategic opportunities in the future."

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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