Analysts boost Apple price target on stellar results
* Analysts raise target to as much as $495
* UBS, Citigroup, BofA Merrill, Wedbush raise price target
* Apple shares to retrace recent weakness: JP Morgan
* iPad supply recovery likely in third qtr: BofA Merrill
* Shares up 4 pct in pre-market trade
April 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street analysts boosted their price target on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares, a day after the consumer electronics giant posted stellar quarterly results that trumped Street expectations.
UBS analysts raised their price target to $495, implying that Apple shares, trading up more than 4 percent before the bell on Thursday, will gain 45 percent on current levels.
On Wednesday, the company reported that sales of its flagship iPhone and Mac computers scaled new heights in the March quarter while iPad supplies could not keep up with roaring global demand.[nL3E7FK17N]
Shares of Apple will likely retrace recent weakness that was based on fears of weak iPhone and Mac results as well as margin pressures from the Japan earthquake and supply chain weakness, said J.P. Morgan Securities analysts.
They rated the stock "overweight" with a price target of $450 and said, "The numbers have gotten too big to ignore as Apple defies the law of gravity with 83 percent year-over-year revenue growth," JP Morgan analysts said. "In our view, Apple is the magical growth story in large-cap tech."
The brokerage, however, expect lingering questions over Apple’s ability to ramp adequate iPad supply to cater to demand and take first-mover advantage in tablets.
Separately, analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch said the lower-than-expected sales for iPads during the quarter was "disappointing," but noted it was "the mother of all backlogs."
They expect a recovery in iPad supply in the third quarter.
Shares of Apple had closed at $342.41 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
The table below lists the price target changes on Apple
BROKERAGES PRICE TARGET RATING
BofA Merrill $465 $450 Buy
Citigroup $435 $415 Buy
UBS $495 $465 Buy
Wedbush $445 $430 Outperform
(Reporting by Tenzin Pema; Editing by Joyjeet Das)
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