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Citigroup Upgrades Apple Computer

Apple Computer (AAPL) delayed shipment of the new version of its iMac desktop computer. Citigroup upgraded its rating on the shares to buy from hold.

Analyst Richard Gardner views shipment delays on the new flat-panel iMac as a temporary issue, and would be an aggressive buyer on today's weakness. Gardner says his estimates remain well above consensus for both fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2006 due to iPod, third party software, hardware accessories, and the iTunes music store. He sees catalysts between now and year-end including: launch of the iPod mini in Europe, download updates from the recent launch of the iTunes Music Store in Europe, iPod orders from new partner Hewlett-Packard, and the launch of the new flat-panel iMac. Gardner has a $37 12-month price target.

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