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Apple Shares a Buy at Goldman Amid ‘Very Big Year’

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said investors should buy Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares, which fell as much as 8.8 percent in the past week, amid a “very big year” for the world’s biggest company by market value.

Apple will report fiscal second-quarter earnings of $10.18 a share on April 24, Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors today. That’s higher than a previous estimate of $9.36 and the average analyst projection in a Bloomberg survey of $9.84. Goldman Sachs also lifted its 2012 projection to $45.76, more than the average projection of $44.21.

“We expect the company to report another solid quarter, with particular strength in iPhone and iPad sales, and we’re raising estimates as a result,” Bill Shope, an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, wrote in a note today. “We continue to believe Apple’s shares are very attractive at current levels, and we’d be buyers ahead of March-quarter results.”

Goldman Sachs boosted its 12-month share-price forecast for Cupertino, California-based Apple to $750 from $700. Shope has had a buy rating on the stock since at least December 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple declined 0.2 percent to $608.34 today. The shares climbed 5.1 percent yesterday, snapping a five-day decline, amid optimism that the iPhone and iPad will top sales projections when the company delivers quarterly results next week. Apple added 51 percent this year through yesterday, about five times the increase of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Two of the largest technology companies tumbled today after reporting results. Intel Corp. (INTC) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) posted the slowest sales growth in years as the European slump weighed on orders last quarter. Intel’s shares dropped 1.8 percent, while IBM fell 3.5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rita Nazareth in New York at rnazareth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net

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