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Apple shareholders OK two-for-one stock split

Analysts up earnings expectations, share price targets

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Apple's shareholders yesterday sided with the company' board and approved its much-anticipated two-for-one stock-split. Such a split has been expected for some time, ever since Apple's share price, propelled by its consistent profit and revenue growth over the last year or so, and Wall Street's broader keenness on hi-tech stocks, shot past the $100 line last year. The number of Apple common shares will be increased from 320,000 to 900,000. Last month, AAPL shares have hit an all-time high of $150. However, the collapse of hi-tech stocks since then has seen it fall, though not as precipitously as many others. Yesterday, Apple's stock closed at $118.875 after trading peaked at $124.75, though that's broadly in line with Nasdaq as a whole. On Wednesday, Apple reported that its revenues rose 27 per cent to $1.94 billion from $1.53 billion, while profits hit $233 million. According to Reuters, those results prompted analysts to raise their expectations of Apple's future earnings and share-price. Bear Stearns analyst William Bean upped his pre-split 12-month target price range from $125-130 to $155-160. Banc America analyst Kurt King raised his 12-month price target from $145 to $150, and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette analyst Kevin McCarthy raised his price target from $150 to $175. Bean increased his estimates for Apple's annual earnings ten cents to $3.60 per share in 2000 and $3.85 per share in 2001. Shareholders also approved the creation of two million new shares earmarked for Apple's senior executives. ®

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