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Merrill Raises Apple Target Price

Merrill Lynch raised its target price for Apple Computer (AAPL) to $102 from $85, and reiterated its buy rating on the stock.

Analyst Steven Milunovich says Apple's new target is supported by a two-stage discounted earnings per share model that assumes post-fiscal 2006 (ending September) earnings per share growth of 33% for 5 years followed by sustained earnings per share growth of 5% per year.

The company adds should be increasing real option value embedded in the stock as the company leverages iPod success into new product lines. He found it intriguing Sony President Kunitake Ando was on stage at MacWorld with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Milunovich speculates an Apple/Sony partnership could put Apple at the heart of the HD and digital consumer revolution and provide grist for further earnings per share increase and stock appreciation.

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