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Goldman Boosts Apple Price Target

Stocks in this article: AAPL GS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Apple (AAPL) is raising the stakes for investors with its dividend and buyback announcement. Now, Goldman Sachs (GS) is raising its target on Apple.

As shares of Apple hover around the $600 mark, Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope has raised his price target to $700, up from $660. He reiterated his Conviction-Buy List rating on the name following the dividend and buyback announcement.

Not only does Shope view the dividend as favorable, he notes that the buyback authorization was "an incremental positive."

"In addition, on the conference call this morning, we believe Apple's management appeared very willing to consider steady increases in the dividend and share repurchase rate over time," Shope wrote.

Following the buyback announcement, Shope raised his earnings estimates for 2013 and 2014. He now sees Apple earning $50.57 per share in fiscal year 2013, up from $50.29, and $57.90 in 2014, up from $57.14. He left his fiscal year 2012 earnings per share estimate of $42.52 unchanged.

"We continue to expect several critical positive catalysts for Apple's stock this year, including (1) the iPhone 5 refresh in 2H2012; (2) continued installed base growth in emerging markets; (3) continued PC market share gains with the MacBook Air; and (4) the highly-anticipated launch of an iOS-centric Apple television set," Shope went on to say.

Shope was not the only analyst to raise his price target following today's announcement. Others also hiked their projections, as they believe the buyback and expanded investor base will push Apple to new highs.

FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi raised his price target to $760 from $730, on the basis of Apple's ability to attract new investors.

"These actions will expand the pool of investment funds that can invest in the name, so are positive for the stock. The $10B stock repurchase plan, over three years, seems a bit low for now. However, we believe that it is an initial step and it could expand substantially in the future," Seyrafi wrote in his research note. Serafyi rates Apple shares "outperform."

Shares of Apple are higher today, up 2.19% to $598.41.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Check out our new tech blog, Tech Trends. Follow TheStreet Tech on your wireless devices.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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