Analyst: Improved Product Availability a Plus for Apple

Analyst Gene Munster of the investment firm Piper Jaffray & Co. reiterated his "Outperform" rating on Apple Computer (AAPL) stock Tuesday, saying the company is improving product efficiency and availability which will mean better profits.

In a report to clients obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Munster is doing a better job of planning product announcements and having stock available immediately "as evidenced by the majority of its products being shipped on the same business day," he wrote. "This is critical to the Apple story as Apple products continue to experience strong demand as supported by the solid overall performance of Apple products on Amazon.comis Top Seller Lists."

Another strong piece of evidence that products are popular and selling is the position of Apple products on Amazon.comis Top 10 Seller Lists.

"The number of iPods in the Top 10 returned to its high of 8, up from 4 previously," he wrote. "We believe this exhibits Appleis dominance in the portable MP3 market and shows that the initial exploratory phase of other MP3 players has lightened."

Mr. Munster reported the number of Macintosh computers in Amazon.comis Top 10 has increased to six, up from five on April 22. "We believe that this shows that Apple continues to hold a significant computer market presence."

Mr. Munster commented that another piece of evidence is that "most products are being shipped on the same business day as the day of the order placement." he said the only products to have an increase in the estimated days to ship are all three versions of the iMac G5 and the PowerBook G4 12" Super, all of which now have a lead time of one to three days, up from the same business day.

"The PowerBook G4 17" Super estimated ship time declined to same business day from 1-2 days. The three Power Mac G5 versions that had a lead time in shipping of 3-5 days on April 22 returned to same business day shipping," he wrote.

Mr. Munster is targeting Apple stock at US$52.00. The stock closed Monday at $36.97.