Wall Street giant Moody’s Investor Services has upped its rating for Apple.

Moodys cites Apple’s operating system sales, QuickTime development and digital-video and Internet strategies as major drivers for potential future growth. In the US, Apple’s association with Earthlink was also cited as a positive sign.

Moody also says: "The company has tightened control of channel inventory, the management of hubs for supplier parts, an accelerated delivery system from the point of source directly to the end customer, and the enormous growth in online sales through its Apple store."

However, the group points to Apples dependency on IBM and Motorola for microprocessor supplies, saying that future sales could be affected by potential shortages in the supply of certain motherboard components, especially those also being used in the telecommunications sector.

Separately, Salomon Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner said that strong PowerBook sales would boost Apple’s bottom line, though he did add that the weak Euro may cause the company to report lower sales than estimated ($1.94 bi9llion).

Apple will report its financial results on Tuesday, July 18.

Apple was ranked sixth in sales in the USA, and seventh worldwide in the fourth quarter of 1999.