Goldman Sachs Ups Apple Estimates on iPod Shuffle Sales

Saying stock in Apple Computer (AAPL) will sell little competition from the likes of Sony any time soon, the investment firm Goldman Sachs upped its estimates on the companyis performance Thursday.

"With competition unlikely to come from ime tooi MP3 players, it will probably take something like Sonyis PlayStation portable to pose a challenge to iPod long term," said Goldman Sachs analyst Maria Grant in the full report obtained by The Mac Observer. "Hardware analysts David Bailey and Laura Conigliaro believe (Apple) will likely remain in (the current) trading range (of US$40 to $45) until we get closer to AAPL?s earnings report on April 13."

Ms. Grant raised her estimates on Aplpeis earnings for the quarter to 24 cents from 22 cents a share and its fiscal year estimates to $1.12 from $1.08 a share.

Another factor in her stronger estimates: A prediction of better than expected sales of Apple iPod shuffle, handheld digital music player. Goldman Sachs now expects Apple to sell 1.8 million iPod shuffleis this quarter, up from 1.2 million in a previous report.

"Although Apple shares have pulled back from recent highs, falling 9% since February 16 compared to a 1% drop in the S&P 500, the stock has outperformed the overall market by a wide margin since the beginning of the year," she wrote.