Apple stock closed at $17.50 last night, its highest close since July 2002.

It's thought this return of investor confidence follows Monday's news that Apple had sold over one million tracks through its iTunes Music Store in the first week of operation. Apple has also revamped its eMac line-up, and delivered a strong selection of video products at NAB 2003.

Schaeffer's Investment Research issued positive investment-advice on Apple yesterday: "Shares rallied after the company reported the instant success of its online music store," it said.

The report explains that Apple's ten-day and 20-day "moving averages have completed a bullish crossover, which could signal continued strength on the horizon".

Despite the positive upswing, Merrill Lynch reiterated its sell rating on Apple's stock yesterday, saying the company's continued weakness in its professional and US education markets outweigh the benefits of its online music sales. Analysts expect the majority of Apple's net income to be derived from investments in the current financial year.

The company's shares also held steady on the after-hours trading market, closing at $17.45.