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Analyst Roundup: Morgan Stanley pooh-poohs, iPhone sales looking bright

Robert Palmer

Morgan Stanley analysts yesterday cut AAPL's price target to $95, mostly citing the weak economy. They said that despite price cuts, extreme interest in the iPhone, Mac users' high satisfaction, and marketshare momentum for Mac sales, the quarter will be slow for Apple.

Blog Notable Calls said it wouldn't have been surprised if AAPL slipped by five points yesterday, but instead the stock gained 34 cents a share before the closing bell.

On a brighter note, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu sees promise in iPhone gift cards, according to Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog. As with any gift card, Apple collects revenue from the customer up front. However, Apple can't report the revenue until the phone is activated, which will likely be during the first quarter of next year.

Wu anticipates Apple will sell 6 million iPhone handsets during the company's fiscal Q1 2009, which includes October, November and December 2008. Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty thinks Apple will sell only 4 million that same quarter.

In the same Apple 2.0 story, Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes that Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster looked at how many units Walmart might sell, after pricing details leaked on Monday. He conjectures that each Walmart store could sell 1,284 iPhones in 2009, accounting for nearly 10 percent of Apple's worldwide iPhone sales.

AAPL was up by $2.50 or so in midday trading.

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