Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray reiterated his outperform rating but raised his stock price target to US$79 from $68, after his checks with Apple stores and third-party retailers indicated that iPod demand was very strong, notes MarketWatch. In addition, Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore affirmed his buy rating, raised his stock price target to $78 and upped his 2006 earnings estimate to $1.85 a share from $1.70. Several other analysts, including Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, also gave positive comments. As a result, shares of Apple climbed $1.17 (1.7%) to $70.51 in pre-open trading today.