Shares of Apple Inc. jumped to a record high Friday amid a broader market rally after the technology company said its highly anticipated iPad tablets will go on sale April 3.
Investors shrugged off a slight delay — and instead seemed reassured it wasn't longer. Apple's shares jumped $8.65, or 4.1 percent, to $219.36 in afternoon trading amid a broader market rally. Earlier, the stock hit a record high of $219.70. Volume was heavier than usual on Friday — 29.6 million compared with the average 22 million.
Barclays Capital analyst Ben A. Reitzes said the iPad announcement was a positive for Apple.
"Not only is the device available April 3 in the U.S. but we believe availability in nine other countries by the end of April is likely quicker than many thought; lending potential upside to (Wall Street) estimates into mid year," Reitzes wrote in a note to investors. He rates Apple "Overweight" with a target price of $285.
Apple will launch the iPad model that connects to Wi-Fi networks on April 3 in the U.S. Models that connect to "3G" cellular networks in the U.S. will be available in late April. All models will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. by then as well.
Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek thinks the effect of the delay should be neutral on Apple.
"We continue to believe that unit availability will remain limited over the next few months," he wrote in a note to investors. Misek still expects Apple to sell 550,000 units in the fiscal third quarter ending in June.
"(Given) that this is simply a temporary production delay instead of a change in our demand forecast, we are leaving our estimates unchanged," he said. Misek rates Apple "Buy."
For fiscal 2010, he expects 1.2 million units to be sold, and for fiscal 2011, 3.5 million.
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