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Analysts bullish about Apple ahead of Expo announcements

Expect good news from Steve Jobs, they say

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Investment bank Saloman Smith Barney (SSB) today dubbed Apple's stock an outperformer and raised its target price to $115. At the same time, Warburg Dillon Read said it expects the stock, marked 'buy', to reach $125. Both statements come in anticipation of some good news from Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Macworld Expo, San Francisco tomorrow -- anticipation that saw the company's share price rise almost ten per cent yesterday. SSB analyst Richard Gardner told Computer Reseller News US he anticipates some very positive news to come from the Expo -- and from Apple's 19 January report on the current fiscal quarter, which ended 31 December. That said, analysts over at Prudential take a very different view -- that Apple will have a job meeting its aggressive sales growth target for the quarter. Apple CFO Fred Anderson has been saying for the last nine months that he expects double-figure growth for the Christmas season. While Anderson or Jobs can't yet give details of the quarter's performance, at past Expos they have dropped strong hints about the company's sales, and Jobs may well do so again tomorrow. In any case, Gardner's expectations of a stock price hike following Jobs' keynote is a safe bet since the crowd-pulling interim CEO's public proclamations always have such an effect. Indeed, it's such hike that largely pushed Apple's stock up through most of 1999 before the launch of the Power Mac G4 in August sent the share price skyrocketing through a series of all-time highs. ®

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