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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.