American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has repeated his 'buy' rating on Apple stock, following news of the company's second best-ever financial quarter.

He cites a $101 price target for the company.

He argues the company is well-positioned to continue above market growth rates, pointing out that Apple achieved revenue and earnings in excess of its guidance. He also points to Apple's conservative targets for the current quarter, which he regards as a sensible attempt to prevent unrealistic expectations.

Retail stores focus on customers

"While there could be concern with weak Apple Retail Store (15 per cent of total) sales, we are not too bothered as we believe most of the weakness was seasonal and from our checks, Apple's sales representatives have been instructed to not push PowerPC Macs to customers who want to wait for Intel versions."

He added: "In this day and age where making numbers is important, we believe Apple is in a rare group of companies willing to sacrifice its near-term revenue opportunity for greater longer-term success by developing customer trust."

The analyst expects Apple's momentum to continue on the back of new consumer notebooks and unspecified changes to its iPod range.

Apple iPhone in the future

Generally, analysts remain positive on Apple, though much depends on its actions in the coming months.

Responding to Apple's news yesterday, UBS lowered its price target on Apple shares to $90 from $95, though the analyst firm did maintain its "buy" rating on the stock.

"We are adjusting estimates to reflect lower iPods, partially offset by higher Mac sales," said UBS analyst Ben Reitzes. He expects Apple to achieve full year revenue of $19.3 billion.

Reitzes believes an Apple-branded mobile phone is in the pipeline: "Apple may choose to enter new consumer markets including an Apple branded mobile phone over the next year where the company would be able to leverage its market leading innovations and creative designs that have made the iPod such a tremendous hit with customers," he said.

Intel transition, iPod sales mark the range

Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf is maintaining a 'Hold' rating on the stock, until the "transition to Intel processors comes closer to the end".

Wolf said: "Once Apple completes the transition to Intel processors by the first quarter of 2007, we believe Mac shipments could surge on the strength of the ability of Macs to run Windows applications."

Also in response to Apple's Q2 performance, Merril Lynch lowered its June quarter estimates on iPod sales to 9.2 million from 10.7 million. The analysts expect Apple to implement new features and capacities in iPods to keep driving sales.