Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes has raised his target price for Apple's shares by 13 per cent to $385 (£241) a share from $340 (£213).

Writing in an investment note on Tuesday Reitzes said: "Even at this market cap" - almost $270 billion (£169.45 billion) - Apple "is the best growth play in the IT-hardware segment, with prospects for significant double-digit organic revenue growth for several more years."

Reitzes noted he was "excited" about the growth potential in Apple's FaceTime videoconferencing software, which he anticipates will eventually be rolled out to all Apple products.

Reitzes predicted a strong "holiday" period for Apple, building on a successful third quarter.

Apple

Last week the analyst anticipated stronger ties between Apple and US retail giant Wal-Mart.

"We believe Wal-Mart is actively pitching Apple to carry more products," Reitzes said. "Given that the iPad is positioned between Apple’s computers and its smaller mobile devices, Wal-Mart carrying the iPad can be seen as a next step in the relationship between the two companies".

Wal-Mart will start selling all six versions of Apple's iPad from Friday, 15 October at selected stores, with a wider roll-out planned.