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Goldman Sachs is out with an updated research note on shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) pending the news that CEO Steve Jobs has taken another medical leave of absence. Today we are focusing on AAPL on the site because according to Goldman, it is the most important stock to hedge funds.

Practically all of the major hedge funds we track have exposure to Apple and for many, it is their top position. We've compiled a list of the top hedge funds that own AAPL here. Combine this with the fact that Steve Jobs IS Apple, you have a potentially volatile situation on your hands. Due to Jobs' medical leave of absence, Goldman expects shares to see near-term weakness. However, they view any dips as a buying opportunity and maintain the stock on their Conviction Buy List.

Goldman's 12-month price target on shares of AAPL is $430. Per the report, "Our target price represents a 19x P/E multiple on our above-consensus CY2010 EPS estimate or a 19% discount to Apple's five-year average multiple of 23x."

Their research essentially outlines 3 reasons that the long-term fundamentals for Apple (AAPL) are still intact:

1. Tim Cook is a proven leader and step in if Jobs' absence ever became permanent

2. Apple has a massive cash hoard of $51 billion

3. The stock is already trading at a historical discount and Goldman sees no threat to earnings

Embedded below is Goldman Sachs' full research note on Apple (AAPL):

You can download a .pdf copy here.

For more on AAPL, head to our in-depth post on what this means for Apple investors, as well as our summary of the hedge funds that own the most AAPL shares.

Original article

Source: Goldman Still Firmly Bullish on Apple