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AAPL: Analysts forecasting stratospheric stock price


Yesterday Apple (AAPL) hit an all-time intraday price of $422.86 and currently it is trading around $413. However, those prices seem cheap compared to what almost every analyst thinks AAPL will do in the next twelve months. DailyFinance has a roundup of analyst expectations for Apple's (AAPL) stock price and it appears that the sky is the limit.

Forty-six analysts believe AAPL will hit a mean of $500 in the next twelve months (not much of a stretch since that's only a 20% increase) while some believe the stock could hit as much as $666 a share in the same period. Their estimates are based on many things, including AAPL's EPS (earnings per share) forecast of $27.53 for 2011, and $32.39 for 2012, compared to $15.15 in 2010.

It also doesn't hurt that, as I tweeted a few days ago, this is the second year in the row in which the iPad has no viable competition for the holidays. That means that the iPad will dominate holiday tablet sales again. And this holiday quarter is a much more important quarter to do it in than last year as tablets are hitting the mainstream now and are sure to be popular gifts not just among the tech crowd, but among mom and pop consumers as well. That's to say nothing of the iPhone 5 and rumored, cheaper iPhone 4S. Those three devices, plus the wild popularity of Apple's MacBook Airs will be why Apple owns this holiday season and why I believe the stock is going to hit $500 by January 1st.

I know, I know, what does a blogger know about the stock market? But matter of fact, in 2009 when AAPL was trading at under $200 a share I wrote "I believe that AAPL could hit $300 by the end of 2010 and $400 the year later." I was blasted in the comments for writing that but, as it turns out, I was absolutely right. So this time I'm going to stick with my $500 January 1st target and I think the analysts at the higher end of the spectrum are dead right. AAPL could be trading well into the $600s be the end of next year.

The sky's the limit.

Disclaimer: This author owns shares in AAPL. Opinions in this post are those of the author only and should not be considered as investment advice.

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