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Apple stock jumps on analyst upgrade

Shares of Apple hit a 52-week high Wednesday after Charles Wolf of Needham & Co. upgraded the Mac maker to “buy” from “hold,” citing strong iPod sales and a potential Power Mac rebound. Wolf also raised his 2003 earnings per share estimate to 23 cents and his 2004 forecast to 60 cents from 50 cents. After rising to $19.48 in earlier trading, Apple shares ended the day at $19.12, up 93 cents, or 5.11 percent. Wolf expects sales of Apple’s Power Mac family, which have fallen for two years, to rebound beginning in Q1 of fiscal 2004 because of three key sales drivers: processor speed gaps between Mac and Windows machines should narrow when Apple introduces new Power Macs that run on IBM’s new 970 processor (which he expects at WWDC on June 23); the recent release of QuarkXpress for Mac OS X; and strong advertising demand for this fall’s television season, which he thinks will stimulate demand for the system amongst graphics professionals.

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