Analysts expect Apple to reveal stronger than ever Christmas sales and a raft of new products at Macworld Expo today, causing another raise in target prices on the company's stock.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster warned investors to expect Apple's stock to rise around the Steve Jobs keynote, pointing out that shares rise an average of 9.2 per cent from the closing price after Macworld across the week following the event.
Munster observes new products introduced at the show will increase investor confidence in Apple and its growing Mac market share, as will the company's December quarter performance figures, he said, offering a $250 target price on the company's stock. Mac sales could reach 2.3 million units, or 43 per cent year-over-year growth in the December quarter, he said.
Citing strong Mac sales, Banc of America Securities analyst Scott Craig also raised estimates and held to his $200 target on the stock, while RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky predicted first quarter Mac sales of 2.5 million, 54 per cent up, year-on-year, with 1.6 million laptops and 0.9 million desktop Macs sold. Abbramsky does see a slight decline in iPod sales in Apple's December quarter, which he estimates at 24.4 million. He expects 1.65 million iPhones were sold in Q1, with 1.2 million in the US and 450,000 in Europe.
JP Morgan analyst Bill Shope observed: "We believe Apple's December quarter results are likely to be the most important catalyst in the near term, with Macworld playing second fiddle this year," but adding, "of course, if Macworld has taught us anything over the years, it's that surprises are always probable."
About 50,000 Mac lovers and 1,000 members of the media will converge upon the Moscone Center for the 24th annual Macworld Expo. Reflecting Apple's growing market share, the exhibition has grown this year to accommodate 480 exhibitors, up from 375 in 2007.