American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has reiterated his 'Buy' rating on Apple stock in light of its powerful third quarter performance - and raised his price target from $165 to $185.

Apple reported strong June quarter results of $5.4 billion in revenue and $0.92 in earnings in the quarter, driving Wu to say: "Apple continues to surprise, showcasing its ability as a large-cap multinational, executing with its broad end-to-end portfolio (Macs, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and Apple TV)."

The analyst notes that Mac shipments "posed the biggest surprise". Apple sold 1.76 million units driven by brisk sales of its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. Consensus estimates had put Mac sales at between 1.6-1.65 million.

"We are raising our full-year earnings-per-share estimates despite Apple's more conservative guidance. For the 2007 financial year, we are now modeling $23.6 billion and $3.65 (from $23.5 billion and $3.50) and for 2008, $29.5 billion and $4.25 (from $30.2 billion and $4.10)."

Apple's gross margins during the quarter came in at 36.9 per cent, "well above expectations and our estimate of 32.4 per cent," Wu said.

The analyst maintains that any short-term weakness in Apple shares poses a buying opportunity for investors.