Barclay’s Pushes AAPL Price Target to $390

| Apple Stock Watch

Barclay’s Capital analyst Ben Reitzes has raised his price target for shares in Apple Inc. to US$390 per share, up from $385. Mr. Reitzes did so based on increased estimates for fiscal 2012, when he now forecasts that Apple will net $21.25 per share, up from $20.80.

The analyst had many good things to say about Monday’s earnings report from Apple, noting that record earnings, revenue, Mac sales, and iPhone sales were all higher than Wall Street consensus estimates, and higher even than his own higher-than-consensus forecasts — Mr. Reitzes is among the more bullish of those analysts who follow Apple.

The two disappointing figures from Apple’s earnings report and conference call with analysts were lower-than-expected gross margins, and lower-than-expected iPad sales. Mr. Reitzes lowered his gross margin estimates for fiscal 2011 and 2012, and left his iPad estimates in place.

“While the unit figure was below expectations for this product,” the analyst wrote, “we continue to believe demand is strong for iPads, with availability improving in September. We continue to believe that demand for the iPad will multiply further with increased availability of models worldwide, and continued international rollouts.”

Mr. Reitzes also noted that iPad sales do not appear to be cannibalizing Mac sales,”despite significantly hurting low-end Wintel notebook sales. In fact, we believe that increased store traffic due to interest in the iPad actually may have helped Mac sales in the quarter again for Apple.”

Other analysts have also noted the iPad’s deleterious effect on the sales of cheap netbooks, and IDC’s most recent market share numbers show that Apple is now the number three computer seller in the U.S. with 10.6% market share.

In addition to raising his price target for Apple, Mr. Reitzes reiterated his “Overweight” rating on AAPL, a rating that means he believes that investors should have more shares of Apple in their portfolio than other companies in that sector.

“While shares may react lower in the immediate- term to lower-than-expected gross margins,” he wrote, “we believe Apple’s F4Q report was very solid given the beat in Macs and iPhones, and a surprise appearance by a very confident Steve Jobs. We believe the above-consensus revenue guide was also positive, and that the EPS and gross margin outlook is quite conservative.”

Shares in AAPL ended the day lower, closing at US$309.49, down $8.51 (-2.68%), on very heavy volume of 43.9 million shares trading hands.

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*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.

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