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Will Apple Hit $450?

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There's a new bullish price target on Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) .

Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek is bumping his target on the tech darling substantially higher, going from $365 to $450.

It's true that going out on a bullish limb with Apple isn't exactly "running with scissors" crazy. Apple has been a beast during the otherwise lost decade. However, Misek's really placing himself out there.

Misek sees Apple earning $22.06 a share this fiscal year, soaring 35% higher to $29.88 a share in fiscal 2012. The rest of his analyst buddies aren't even close. Wall Street's consensus target is $19.27 for this fiscal year and $22.60 come next year.

Is Misek insane? Not at all. If anything, Apple has proven that analysts can never be too bullish when it comes to taking a stab at its bottom line. Apple has routinely blown past Wall Street's profit projections. Try as they might, they're always underestimating Steve Jobs' ultimate earnings power.

It's a moving target, too.

Just three months ago, the pros were perched on $17.89 a share for this fiscal year, ending in September. The fiscal 2012 mark was just $20.88 a share. You'll likely see this carrot-chasing game continue after every market-thumping quarterly performance. In a year or two, even Misek's ambitious forecasts may be dwarfed by both Apple's reality and where the rest of his peers are settling.

Apple's in a good groove these days, annually refreshing its Macs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones to wider audiences. Outside of portable music players, it would be a shock if Apple didn't grow its presence in the coming year. Apple is the market-share champ when it comes to tablets, but that's a market still in its infancy. Its line of Macs remains a fringe player against the larger installed base of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) computers powered by Microsoft. As hot as the iPhone is these days, Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) is now up to 55 million activated BlackBerry smartphones out there. Google Android handsets are multiplying like an aquarium of guppies with Barry White music piped in.

In short, Apple may be the country's most valuable technology company, but it's nowhere close to peaking at the moment.

Misek may be on an island relative to his peers at the moment, but don't worry: They'll be rowing over eventually.

When do you think Apple will hit $450? Will it even get there? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers choice. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has written puts on Apple. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always bets the over when it comes to Apple. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy, and it knows better than to talk down to Apple.

Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2011, at 4:59 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    $450 is too low. The $22/share is accurate for 2011 and has been my estimate for over a year. If anything it may prove to be too low still.

    The growth multiple is too low on apple as well. This is because apple is a high dollar stock, not because it is actually expensive. It should be trading closer to its growth rate on revenues and earnings which at minimum is 30%. With that you get a fair PEG 1.0 price of $660/share on the $22 earnings. Throw in over $50 in cash and you are well over $700. Note this post because in one year this call will prove to be prescient.

    Furthermore should apple split 10 for 1 then pros and retail will no longer think apple is priced for perfection. Both are not intelligent enough to realize the price does not reflect value. Berkshire Hathaway A shares are over $100k per share and ask anyone on the street and they will tell you that is expensive. However it is not. Apple splits 10 for 1 and it will get a fair market multiple to its growth of 40x and the stock will approach $1000/share (or $100 post split)

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2011, at 6:21 PM, RRobertsmith wrote:

    Well I thinking that steve (jobs) is not gonna last forever,,, and when he (someday) leaves the seen, apple will tank about 50-60% that day, soo..hedge you stock with out of the money puts?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2011, at 8:55 AM, alon2k5 wrote:

    Apple hits $450 - November 2012.

    33% from today's $341.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2011, at 1:51 PM, jrod87 wrote:

    lol pumpers! yes I said it! the wallstreet anayayayalastits" is no mroe thana fancy rish mans pumper...ofcourse he thinks the stock will rise..dosnt every single owner of appl stock think so? Jobs could care less. all that cash and no end game plan with what to do with it! lmao it will probably sit there being eating away by inflation (inflation in america wont mean that ppl will pay more for there ipad's it means they will not pay for ipads) its funny to me that the same American debt/ us currency worthless bears are also huge appl BUlls. Hence the pumping. They need more NEW investores to buy into an already overpriced stock so they can dump at a premium...what happens after hits 700$ a share???what you think ppl that bought in at 200$ arent sellers that same day? wake up! appl has no div's for a reason THEY DO NOT CARE TO REWARD LONG TERM INVESTORS as of c.o.b yesterday! they only care about the huge investors that were with them from the begining many of wich have already cashed out. ITs too late in the game unless your "the JOBS"

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2011, at 12:25 PM, marveldollar wrote:

    How can one claim AAPL does not care to reward long term investors? On a split adjusted basis, an investment in AAPL back in 1995 and still held today would be a nice appreciation from around $5.00 per share to $335.00 per my opinion, not a bad long term reward!

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2011, at 9:22 PM, Silentcal wrote:

    Apple has an estimated growth rate for 2011 of 32%. Based on this a price of $450 is reasonable.

    It is leading a technology change that is worldwide.

    This is similar to when IBM was growing by leaps and bounds between 1950 and 1980, and Microsoft and Cisco's game changing streaks. This is my opinion now. In a year Apple will be bigger and more mature and then it may be time for it to settle down or because of the changes that it has help wrought it may be ready for another jump in price to $600.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2011, at 9:34 PM, topsecret10 wrote:

    Steve Jobs Is very sick :( and android Is nipping.... It can go to 500.00 for all I care... It will do It without me.... too many questions regarding the economy and the strength of this recovery for me to be buying 400.00 stocks.... TS

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