Thomas Weisel Partners raised its price target on the shares of Apple Inc. to $250 from $245 and upped its first-quarter adjusted per-share earnings estimates, saying December sales for iPhones and iMacs were tracking ahead of expectations.
The brokerage, which has an "overweight" rating on the stock of Apple, said better-than-expected iPhone sales were driven by increased market penetration in the United States, additional carrier deals in multiple countries and first-time launches in Korea and China.
The brokerage raised Apple's earnings-per-share estimates for the December quarter to $3.55 from $3.36.
Thomas Weisel also raised its FY 2010 adjusted earnings per share view on Apple to $11.23 from $11.08, and said it sees up to 15 cents of upside to FY 2010 earnings per share from a potential tablet launch.
"Despite the widely held expectations of a tablet launch we believe confirmation by Apple management and subsequent upward revisions of FY'10 Street earnings per share estimates will be a positive catalyst for Apple shares," analyst Doug Reid said in a note to clients.
Apple shares continued their rally Monday morning to reach a new all-time high of $213.95 as excitement built up over the expected release of its tablet computer, which could be a touch-screen device resembling a larger iPhone or iPod touch, and could cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
Apple shares were trading up 2 percent at $213.33 on Nasdaq.
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