Analysts at Piper Jaffray have declared Apple the leading large capitalization stock recommendation for the rest of the year, driving the company's stock up 4 per cent yesterday.

Analyst Gene Munster explained that "several new product introductions and continued market share gains for Macs" drove his assessment.

"Apple's domination in digital music is a critical piece to the story, be we do not believe iPod is the only growth avenue for the company," he told clients, according to CBS MarketWatch.

Forbes adds that Munster anticipates higher-capacity iPod shuffles or a flash-based iPod and a colour-screen iPod mini.

Mac market growth continues

He also said that even minimal market share gains for Macs would help grow Apple's business, predicting the company's share could reach 3.5 per cent of the market.

A continuation of Apple's current quarterly 0.2 per cent market-share gains until the end of 2006 "would lead to average calendar 2006 Macintosh market share of 3.4 per cent," he maintained.

While Apple's management has speculated that the company's announced move to processors from Intel may impact Mac sales, this slowdown has not transpired, he added.

As such, he repeated his 'outperform' rating and $52 target price on the company's stock.