Citigroup Upgrade Fuels Apple Rally

Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner on Monday changed his rating on Appleis stock from "Hold" to "Buy," helping fuel a rally that saw shares jump to US$65.47 by 1:30 PM EST, up 3.61% for the day. According to MarketWatchis Rex Crum, Mr. Gardner said that "much of the marketis recent negative concerns about Apple -- which have driven the companyis shares down 27% over the past two months -- have now been priced into the stock."

Mr. Gardner, like many analysts and other pundits, also sees April 1 as the day Apple will unveil a revamped video iPod as well as an Intel-based iBook. The company will turn 30 years old on that date -- when CEO Steve Jobs pointed that out at the end of his January Macworld keynote, merely remarking "I donit know what weire going to do for it," many observers read assumed he meant Apple would announce new products that day. As iPod Observer has pointed out, that simple statement fueled a litany of assumptions by various enthusiast sites, assumptions that then made their way into the mainstream media.

Regardless of when Apple rolls out new products, however, Mr. Gardner believes that as long as the company does so in the first half of the year, "most of the risk associated with the Intel transition and iPod transitions will be behind Apple in time for the back-to-school selling season," he wrote.

Mr. Crum also noted that Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff looked at "a buying opportunity" right now for Appleis stock, noting that his iPod channel checks "donit suggest any slowdown in (product) end demand."

Finally, the reporter pointed to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munsteris report, which The Mac Observer covered earlier today.

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