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Apple stock hits all-time high

Set to hit Microsoft, IBM level real soon now

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Apple's shares yesterday spiralled up to achieved their highest price ever, $83.25, before closing at $81.50 - higher than Intel, Dell and Compaq. Analysts reckon the trend will continue, with $90-95 being widely touted as the stock's price range within the next 12 months.

At this rate, the stock will reach that point sooner than later. Essentially, Nasdaq-traded AAPL is returning to the price it would have already attained had Apple's Q4 profit warning, issued in September, not knocked the stock down from August's record high of $71.44.

Ironically, the results, while below par, proved not as bad as Apple had thought, and Wall Street was largely unperturbed. It also remained calm when Apple faffed about over how to deal with its inability to ship promised high-speed Power Mac G4s and the major marketing gaffe that ensued.

At the current rate of increase, Apple should hit $90 next month, and it's largely anticipation of high iMac and iBook sales over the Christmas period that's driving Wall Street's expectations. Apple recently released the first sub-$1000 iMac and that, plus new, faster, home video oriented models should maintain the machine's remarkable resilience in the face of cheaper, faster (only apparently - higher megaHertz values do not a quicker computer make) Wintel machines and DRAM price hikes.

Sales of the high-margin MacOS 9 should also boost Apple's Q1 2000 figures to the extent that Apple's bosses have been bullishly predicting. ®

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