Analyst: 'NPD [iPod] Data Creates [Apple] Buying Opportunity'

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on Wednesday issued a new research report in which he looked at the last two months of NPD iPod sales data, which he said "creates a buying opportunity" for Appleis stock. Based on January and February numbers, he said that NPD is showing sales between 8.8 million and 9.1 million units for the current quarter, based on historical trends from 2005 and 2004. The analyst is currently modeling 9 million units.

While Appleis share of the portable digital audio players market slipped from 78% in January to 76% in February, Mr. Munster said that he believes iPod demand continues to be strong. "We expect that as we see new iPods throughout the year," he wrote, "demand will grow and, therefore, we are leaving our overall iPod unit estimates unchanged."

The analyst also left unchanged his "Outperform" rating on the stock, with a US$103 price target. With just under an hour to go in the trading day on Wednesday, Apple shares were selling for $65.77, down 2.3% for the day.

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