Apple shares rose slightly yesterday as financial Web site elected it December's stock of the month.

Prudent Speculator analyst John Buckingham wrote: "I have always marvelled at Apple's ability to persevere with the odds so often stacked against its survival."

Buckingham is cautious in his performance expectations for Apple. "We do not expect a return to the glory days of the late 1990's," he wrote. He observes that Apple holds over $4 billion in cash – the equivalent of $12 per share. The company held $11 per share in 1997 when it was first recommended by Forbes.

The analyst praises Apple's product line-up, operating system and retail strategy, but saves his enthusiasm for the company's management: "The company has done a good job of managing Wall Street expectations, and the bar has been set to low."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has warned the "industry won't pick up any time soon", promising the company will "innovate" through the downturn.

Buckingham concludes: "Because we view Apple as an inexpensively priced (95 per cent of sales) growth stock, we would buy Apple up to $16.33."

Apple climbed six cents to close at $14.85 on yesterday's trading.