Apple stock seems to have reached its comfort zone, with analysts equally offering positive predictions and cautious advice.
While most analyst firms that cover the company have raised their target share value and revenue estimates at least once in recent weeks, market activity surrounding the stock seems to have shifted away from a buying frenzy, though at no loss of company credibility.
Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey yesterday described Apple as "one of the few companies in tech with the ability to consistently innovate and then monetize that innovation."
While positive about the stock, he advised clients not to "chase the stock with new money" right now; instead investors should wait until after January's Macworld Expo, "when Apple's outlook can be assessed more rationally", he said.
He praised Apple's retail strategy as developing a direct relationship with Apple customers that is "second only to Dell".
Merrill Lynch last week raised its Apple price target to $78 per share, anticipating iPod success would raise Mac marketshare.
Lehman Brothers analyst Harry Blount recently raised his stock target to $64, citing a busy Thanksgiving/Christmas shopping period and iPod revenue of just under $1 billion.
One dissenting voice is that of BWS Financial analyst Hamed Khorsand, who sees Apple's current share high as a profit-taking opportunity, with Apple gaining a premium for its iPod. Rating Apple a 'sell' he said: "We look at this as more of a fad that will fade than a profit-generating vehicle for the company past 2005."
Apple closed at $62.89 on yesterday's trades.