pushed further into record territory Monday, boosted by a pair of favorable reports from Wall Street analysts.
Caris analyst Mark Stahlman upgraded Apple's shares to above average from average in a report Monday, saying the company will soon roll out a series of upgraded computers and other products. While other computer makers have had trouble garnering interest for their high-end offerings, Apple's updated computers will likely stand out, he said in a research note.
"Apple is, in many ways, the ultimate 'upsell,' ... potentially more attractive than ever to leading-edge customers," Stahlman said in his note. "Apple's value proposition continues to steadily improve in a highly dynamic marketplace." Stahlman's firm hasn't done recent investment banking business for Apple.
Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster left his outperform rating on Apple unchanged and named the company his top large-stock pick for the rest of the year. Munster said the company should exceed its conservative guidance for the September quarter, and the analyst added that new products and share gains should spur future sales and earnings growth.
"Apple's domination in digital music is a critical piece to the story, but ... we expect iPod to continue to be a foundation for growth in other parts of Apple's business," Munster said in a research report. Piper Jaffray hasn't done any recent investment banking business for Apple.
In recent trading, Apple shares were up $1.68, or 3.6%, to $47.78. The stock was up as much as $2.23 to $48.33 earlier in the session.
The move marked the second straight session in record territory for Apple. On Friday, the company's stock
reached a record high amid rumors that the company will soon launch a music site with
and speculation that the company's Macintosh line is taking market share from PC leader
The upward movement follows several weeks of mostly sideways trading in Apple's shares. Although they jumped immediately after the company's
earnings report last month, they had mostly traded between $41 and $43 a share since.
Although the company is in the midst of turning to
-based processors, Stahlman predicted that the updated computers will all include PowerPC-based chips, the company's current standard.
recently came out with a low-power version of its G5 PowerPC chip and some analysts have speculated Apple would use the processor to finally deliver a long-awaited G5 laptop. However, that chip is more suited for a desktop machine than a laptop, Stahlman said, predicting that Apple will incorporate it into its low-end Mac mini.
Although Apple will upgrade its PowerBook laptop line, it likely will do so with a
G4 chip rather than the new G5 processor, he said.
"These new models are likely to support further expansion of the high value-added Mac franchise," Stahlman said.
Additionally, the company is likely to soon upgrade the screens on its PowerBooks so that they can display high-definition video, Stahlman said. Further, he predicted the company would soon unveil the so-called video iPod, the long-rumored successor to the company's wildly popular digital music players that will be able to play movies.
Apple is likely to roll out the new computers and products at its 2005 Expo in Paris next month, if not sooner, he said.
For his part, Munster predicted that Apple will introduce a new, potentially higher capacity version of its low-end iPod shuffle and a color-screen version of its midrange iPod mini. While not predicting any new Mac models, Munster said the company's computer line has increased its market share in the last three quarters and would likely continue doing so.
"Results over the last 3 quarters have illustrated the existence of the 'halo' effect, and we expect to see continued evidence of iPod-to-Mac carryover in the September quarter due to back-to-school," he said. "We believe minimal upside to current Mac market share estimates would have a significant impact on Apple's overall numbers."