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Enthusiastic analyst pushes Apple stock to new high

New desktops, notebooks the basis for a "strong" quarter

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A glowing report from a US financial analyst propelled Apple's stock price to a new all-time high of 130.75 yesterday. Kevin McCarthy, the Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette analyst and not the star of the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, predicted the Mac maker will ship a staggering 1.05 billion machines during its current quarter, the second of fiscal 2000. Apple shipped 1.377 million machines during Q1 2000 -- which included the Christmas sales period -- so it's going to be very lucky indeed to get that up to 1.05 billion, an increase of over 76,152 per cent. We suspect McCarthy may be being a tad optimistic here -- either that or it's a typo in his report or Reuters' coverage of it. Around 1.05 million Macs is the correct figure, we'd say. McCarthy's expectation of $1.95 billion in revenue seems more reasonable. Last quarter Apple made $183 million on revenues of $2.34 billion, so a dip in sales in the traditionally slow post-Christmas period is to be expected. McCarthy reckons earnings will hit 78 cents a share, down from Q1's 103 cents a share. In all, "Apple is poised for a strong March and we see the new products driving upside to our estimates", McCarthy wrote, adding that sales of the new PowerBook G3, iBook Special Edition and faster Power Mac G4s, all unveiled last month at MacWorld Expo Tokyo, were "brisk". A clearly excited McCarthy even pointed out that G4s were "flying off the shelves" now that Apple has finally been able to ship the long-promised but until recently undelivered 500MHz machine. Calm down, Kevin, think of your heart. And Apple's deal with US ISP EarthLink is doing better than expected, he wrote: "We believe there is significant upside to the original estimate of 25-35 million in calendar year 2000 net margin dollars deriving from the EarthLink alliance announced in January." The upshot of all this enthusiasm was a new enthusiasm for Apple stock. Trading during the day saw the AAPL price peak at 130.75 before closing at 127. ®

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