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Apple seen riding higher on strong iPhone demand

NEW YORK: Strong global demand for Apple Inc’s iPhone 6 will drive revenue growth through 2015, while updated models should help reverse three straight quarters of declining iPad sales, analysts said.

The company posted better-than-expected revenue on Monday on the back of a record iPhone launch that saw 39 million of the smartphones sold in the September quarter.

“We expect this momentum to continue in the December quarter and into 2015, particularly as supply improves steadily in coming months,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note to clients.

Goldman raised its price target on the stock by $9 (5.57 pounds) to $124, above a mean price target of $112.02, based on 51 brokerages covered by Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

At least 10 other brokerages raised their price targets on the stock by between $1 and $20.

Orders for Apple’s new iPhone 6, which comes in larger sizes and a heftier price tag, began in September.

“(We) were encouraged by Tim Cook’s comments regarding Apple basically selling every iPhone 6/6 Plus it can produce and will likely remain undersupplied relative to demand through the end of 2014,” Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a note to clients.

They said Apple was not expected to catch up with demand until early next year.

Apple posted its strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years during the September quarter, even as sales of its iPad, which helped launch the mainstream tablet market in 2010, slid for a third consecutive quarter.

“Still, we believe Apple will reverse the trend on the iPad with its recent product refresh and also believe that the Mac product line will continue to gain market share against its PC rivals,” analysts at William Blair said.

Apple, last week launched it’s faster and slimmer iPad Air 2 with a fingerprint sensor, hoping to attract consumers for the holiday shopping season.

According to StarMine data, 16 analysts rate the stock “strong buy,” 25 rate it a “buy,” nine rate it a “hold,” and just one analyst rates it a “sell.”

Shares of the company closed at $99.76 on the Nasdaq on Monday. – Reuters

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