Analyst Sees Strong Year-Over-Year Growth in Mac Sales

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on Monday released a report in which he looked at recent figures from research firm NPD and noted: "We expect the strong year-over-year growth in NPD data that we saw in January to continue in the month of February. We believe this represents a buying opportunity ahead of NPD data for the month of February on March 15."

Mr. Munster expects Apple to ship between 2.6 and 2.8 million Macs during the current quarter, which ends March 31; he noted that the first half of 2009 saw weak sales for Macs, so large year-over-year percentage increases shouldn’t be surprising. Last quarter, the company set a record with 3.36 million Macs sold, and he said that momentum carried over into January and February.

According to, Mr. Munster, who has long been bullish on Apple, maintained an “overweight” rating on Apple’s stock and kept his 12-month price target at US$284. At 2:40 PM Eastern time on Monday, the company’s shares were selling for $219.23, up $0.28 for the day. The stock has risen dramatically from its $189.87 price on Dec. 8, 2009; a year ago, on March 9, it was selling for $83.11.

While Apple isn’t a big player in the corporate world, another report issued on Monday, this time from Goldman Sachs, said that “a significant PC upgrade cycle is likely to start in 2010," according to Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey. "Our latest survey shows further momentum for corporate PCs, with H-P and Dell both gaining meaningful share of customer budgets." With a general computer sales recovery seemingly underway, it stands to reason that Apple would capture a share of that revenue.