Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Rethinking Apple's price targets

September 17, 2009: 9:40 AM ET

With Apple (AAPL) closing at $184.55 a share Thursday -- up 1.47% to hit a 15-month high -- it's probably time for the legion of analysts who follow the stock to start rethinking their published price targets.

The current high target, $264, was set on air Tuesday by Mad Money's Jim Cramer. But he's more showman than analyst -- even if he did trigger a 6.71 point (3.83%) rally the next day. (See here.)

Now more serious analysts are in the awkward position of having to follow Cramer without looking like Mad Money dittoheads.

The situation is especially uncomfortable for those with positive recommendations and targets -- many set months ago -- that are still well below the stock's current price. It's a surprisingly distinguished group that includes, according to AAPLinvestors,

  • Thomas Weisel's Doug Reid ($150)
  • Think Equity's Vijay Rakesh ($150)
  • FTN Equity's Bill Fearnley ($155)
  • J. P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz ($167.50)

[An earlier version of this post included Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig  in this list. That was my error.]

The highest targets on record, not counting Cramer's, are those from RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky ($250) and Needham's Charles Wolf ($235).

The lowest, $90, set back in February by Calyon Securities's Shelby Seyrafi, is at least consistent with Seyrafi's "underperform" rating.

Below: the full list of 45 analyst ratings tracked by AAPLinvestors.

Company
Analyst
Date
Rating
Target
Needham & Co
Charles Wolf
15 Sep 2009
Strong Buy
$235
Argus

Wendy Abramowitz

11 Sep 2009
Buy
$195
AmTech Research
Brian Marshall
10 Sep 2009
Buy
$210
JMP Securities
Samuel Wilson

10 Sep 2009

Outperform
$200
Piper Jaffray
Gene Muster
10 Sep 2009
Buy
$186

Caris & Co.

Robert Cihra
10 Sep 2009
Buy
$200

*RBC Capital Markets

*Mike Abramsky
*10 Sep 2009
*Outperform
*$250
Morgan Stanley
Katy Huberty
8 Sep 2009
Overweight
$200
William Blair

Ralph Schackart

3 Sep 2009
Outperform
Credit Suisse
Bill Shope
1 Sep 2009
Outperform
$200
Standard & Poor
Clyde Montevirgen
28 Aug 2009
Buy
$200
Thomas Weisel Partners
Doug Reid

21 Aug 2009

Overweight
$180
Sanford Bernstein
Toni Sacconaghi
18 Aug 2009
Outperform
$185

Barclays Capital

Ben Reitzes
13 Aug 2009
Overweight
$208
UBS
Maynard Um
10 Aug 2009
Buy
$170
Citigroup

Richard Gardner

22 Jul 2009
Buy
$196
Merril Lynch
Scott Craig
22 Jul 2009
Buy
$185
Pacific Crest
Andy Hargreaves

22 Jul 2009

Outperform
$190
Goldman Sachs
David Bailey
22 Jul 2009
Neutral
$175

Kaufman Bros.

Shaw Wu
22 Jul 2009
Buy
$184
Canaccord Adams
Peter Misek
22 Jul 2009
Buy
$200
Susquehanna

Jeffery Fidicaro

22 Jul 2009
Initiated
$185
Deutsch Bank
Chris Whitmore
22 Jul2009
Buy
$225
J. P. Morgan
Mark Moskowitz

17 Jul 2009

Overweight
$167.50
FTN Equity
Bill Fearnley
2 Jun 2009
Buy
$155

BMO Capital Markets

Keith Backman
9 Jun 2009
Outperform
$150
Oppenheimer
Yair Reiner
4 Jun 2009
Outperform
$160
Societe Generale
3 Jun 2009
Buy

$160

Collins Stewart
Ashok Kumar
3 Jun 2009
Buy
$170
Cross Research
Shannon Cross

23 Apr 2009

Buy
$160
Morgan Keegan
Tavis McCourt
23 Apr 2009
Outperform
Think Equity
Vijay Rakesh
23 Apr 2009
Buy
$150
Thomas Weisel Partners

Doug Reid

23 Apr 2009
Overweight
$150
Gabelli
Robert Haley
20 Apr 2009
Hold
Calyon Securities
Shelby Seyrafi
24 Feb 2009
Underperform
$90
Bank of America
Scott Craig
8 Oct 2008
Buy
$140
WR Hambrecht
Matthew Kather
28 Jul 2008
Outperform
$257
ThinkPanmure
Darren Aftah
22 Jul 2008
Buy
$200
Changewave
Tobin Smith
10 Jul 2008
$275
Market Pulse
Bernard Schmitt
5 May 2008
Mkt Outperform
Kintisheff Research
24 Apr 2008
Buy
Soleil Securities Group
Daniel Ernst
24 Apr 2008
Buy
$200
Atlantic Equities
7 Apr 2008
Overweight
Hearing Deutsche
4 Feb 2008
Buy
Bear Stearms
Andrew Neff
23 Jan 2008
Outperform
$220
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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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