First Albany Issues "Neutral" On AAPL, Merrill Issues "Buy"

First Albany has raised Appleis estimates for fiscal 2004 and 2005, and issued a "Neutral" rating for the companyis stock today. reports that First Albany has raised earnings estimates for the company 61 cents per share to 65 cents per share for fiscal 2004, and 72 cents per share to 88 cents per share for fiscal 2005. From NewRatingsi report:

According to First Albanyis research note published this morning, Apple Computer is likely to witness re-accelerated momentum in iPodis unit growth by the September quarter. The analysts mention that the company is poised for robust near term unit growth in its iPod Mini and iTunes products in the European market. Moreover, First Albany expects Apple Computer to benefit considerably from its summer launch of the HPod product in the forthcoming quarters.

The analysts anticipate relatively modest sequential growth in Apple Computeris iPod shipments in the current quarter, primarily due to the persisting supply constraints associated with its iPod Mini product. First Albany expects the company to resolve these supply constraints by 4Q FY04. However, the current valuation of Apple Computeris stock has limited upside potential, as compared to the companyis near-term earnings and revenue growth outlook, the analysts believe.

NewRatings also reported that Merrill Lynch reiterated a "Buy" rating for AAPL, raising the target price for the stock from US$32 per share to US$38 per share.

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