Apple Stock Price: What Will It Be by Year's End?

Apple's stock hit a record high this week, but will the momentum continue?
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(Apple stock price article updated with March 12 Apple stock movements, as well as additional Apple portfolios and analyst insight.)



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(AAPL) - Get Report

stock reached new highs this week as investors eagerly await the store launch of its iPad device.

The company announced last week that the device will hit stores on April 3 and unveiled its first commercial for the iPad during the Academy Awards on Sunday.

The hype drove Apple's stock up to a new high

of $220.09 on Monday. On Tuesday, it gained another 1.8% to hit $223.02. By the close of the trading day Thursday, Apple had risen to $225.50, and was trading in the pre-market Friday at 227.35. In the past 52 weeks Apple has traded as low as $82.57

But can this momentum continue?

There are those who advise buying Apple ahead of the launch, and that once the iPad hits stores the stock will pull back.

Jim Cramer notes that we know how to trade Apple from the launch of the iPhone

. The best time to buy, Cramer says, is after the product is revealed but before it gets in the hands of consumers.

The history of the tech sector -- for as long as it is -- also suggests that tech companies have an inevitable life cycle, and there's no reason to suspect that Apple would be any different in that regards.

Still, Apple does have substantial opportunities that extend beyond the iPad. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who cited NPD data on PC sales, Apple Mac sales will continue to advance over the next several months.

"We expect the strong year-over-year growth in NPD data that we saw in January to continue in the month of February," he wrote in a note on Monday. "We believe this represents a buying opportunity ahead of NPD data for the month of February on March 15."

Munster has an overweight rating on the stock and a price target of $284.

For his part, Majestic Research analyst Tony Berkman declared on Thursday that Apple could post outrageously strong number for its fiscal second quarter, ending March. Berkman predicts that strong international demand for the iPhone will drive sales well above consensus; Majestic is calling for shipments of 9.1 million units, a dramatic improvement over the consensus estimate of 6.95 million.

When Apple reported results for the December quarter, it projected March quarter revenue of $11 billion to $11.4 billion, with profits of $2.06 to $2.18 a share. The Street, always certain that Apple is low-balling, is forecasting revenue of $11.7 billion. Berkman thinks is trending not only ahead of guidance, but also above the high end of the Street forecast range, which tops out at $12.2 billion.

In light of all this, we think this is the perfect time to go to TheStreet for a verdict on Apple stock. We ask: Will Apple fall below $160, drop down a bit to $200, remain stable at $220, will it hit another high over $280 or even extend further?

Take the poll below -- and feel free to leave a comment, if you've got something to say about Apple, that is.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.


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