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Jonathan Hoopes, an analyst at ThinkEquity Partners, this morning lifted his price target on Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares to $100 from $90, based largely on strengthening demand for the company’s core Mac products. Given that most of the research on Apple lately is more focused on when the company will produce the next amazing gizmo - a phone, a better iPod, televisions, or whatever - this approach is kind of refreshing.

Hoopes lays out a half dozen reasons for his more aggressive stance on the stock:

  • Apple’s Back-To-School season was healthy.
  • Leopard and iLife software refreshes and the launch of the iTV in early [calendar 2007] and success in the enterperise later in ‘07 will boost revenues, increase earnings power, and expand valuation multiples.
  • Apple (like other PC vendors) will also benefit from pent-up demand in European markets.
  • Apple retail stores appear primed to deliver back-to-back solid quarters in the September and December quarters.
  • There is potential for up to $400 million (or over 40 cents a share) in contribution profits from Leopard in the 12 months after its release.

His conclusion: “Never in the history of the PC has a company been better positioned than Apple is at this time to both gain share and improve profitability…Apple’s software holds the key to additional share gains and margin expansion."

In pre-market trading, Apple shares were up 83 cents, at $73.83.

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Source: ThinkEquity Targets Apple at $100/Share On Promising Mac Sales