Analysts have moved to reassert their confidence in Apple's stock, following last night's financial results report.

First Albany remarks that the 4.5 million iPods sold in the quarter fell short of their expectations, they chose to maintain their 'buy' rating on the stock with a $72 target price.

Analysts at Needham & Co. also responded to Apple's news, raising their assessment from 'hold' to 'buy'.

To an extent hedging his bets, Prudential Financial analyst Steven Fortuna raised his target price on Apple stock to $75 from $45, but maintained a 'Neutral' rating on stock acquisition.

Looking forward, Fortuna predicts an upward trend in the company's financial results, partially driven by increasing iPod shipments over the next "couple" of years, with a 2005 earnings per share estimate of $1.65, rising to $2.20 in 2006.

On Monday, Piper Jaffray repeated its 'outperform' rating on Apple, predicting Apple would continue to dominate the music player market.

JP Morgan meanwhile predicts Apple's March quarter earnings at $3.035 billion, raising earnings per share estimates and describing the "iPod phenomenon as driving upside" in Apple's sales.

Soleil Securities this morning upgraded Apple to 'buy' from 'hold'. The analyst's 2005 earnings estimate rose to $2.05 a share from $1.52 and its 2006 forecast to $2.22 a share from $1.79.

Bank of America also upgraded Apple to 'buy' from 'neutral'. Following a series of interviews, analyst Keith Bachman predicted marketshare growth for Apple.

"Our survey work indicates strong brand appeal and interest in converting from Windows systems to Macs based on better media capabilities and virus protection," he said

Apple stock closed at $65.46, after early week profit taking on the company stock by some investors. However, pre-market trading shows the stock up 12.99 per cent on yesterday's close at $73.96 - a new 52-week high.