At least two brokerages said they see a faster-than-expected gross margins recovery for Apple Inc., backed by robust outlook for iPad and iPhone sales.
On Tuesday, Apple surprised Wall Street with strong December sales and better-than-expected outlook for the March quarter, despite concerns over CEO Steve Jobs' medical leave.
JPMorgan Securities analyst Mark Moskowitz raised his price target on the stock to $450 from $420, and said he sees Apple's iPhone, iPad and Mac driving above-peer growth over the next two to three years.
"Also investors stand to evaluate the sustainability of Apple's early lead in the tablet market relative to competitive tablet offerings expected late this year," Moskowitz wrote in a note to clients.
Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock to $450 based on product forecast and optimism over margin outlook.
"While the news of Steve Jobs' medical leave may continue to add some headwinds to the share price momentum in the near-term, we continue to believe improving underlying fundamentals and the strength of Apple's overall management team will counter this uncertainty," Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shoppe said.
Apple shares were trading up about a percent at $345.73 on Wednesday before the market opened. They closed at $340.65 on Tuesday on Nasdaq.
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