Apple shares closed at $40.64 last night, and continued its climb in the afterhours trading market.

The visible stock buoyancy emerges six days before the company releases its fourth quarter/full financial year financial data on October 13.

It also occurs as analysts issue apparently bullish projections for the company's stock target price, including Piper Jaffray's recent observation that Apple's iPod has become synonymous with its product category among US teenagers.

Apple has issued no guidance, beyond its admitted fourth quarter target revenue figures.

"We expect fourth quarter 2004 revenue of about $2.1 billion and earnings per diluted share of $0.16 to $0.17, including $0.01 per diluted share in restructuring charges,” predicted Apple chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer.

Markets rally round Apple's success

Data available on confirms Wall Street's consensus on Apple's anticipated results. It cites earnings whispers in the region of $0.20 - itself up on Apple's more conservative estimate, though consensus estimates stand at $0.18 earnings per share. Apple earned $0.08 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Wall Street consensus on Apple's full-year earnings is reportedly $0.65 per share.

In response, analysts at Morgan Stanley this morning raised their own estimates for the company's performance, raising fourth quarter guidance to $0.20 from $0.18 earnings per share.

"The analysts expect the company to post robust revenues due to a consistent increase in the iPod and accessory demand," the company said.