Controversial Morning for Apple

Jan.14.08 | About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) all controversial this AM. On one hand we have two firms out with positive comments on results, but on the other hand we have news of China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) pulling out of iPhone talks:

- Banc of America is raising their FQ108 and F2008 estimates, saying they note particular strength in CPU units, clearly benefiting from the introduction of Leopard. Firm raises revenue estimate to $9.6 billion from $9.3 billion (vs. consensus of $9.4 billion) and raises EPS estimate to $1.60 from $1.52 (vs. consensus of $1.59).

Maintains Buy rating and target price of $200

- RBC Capital notes fresh data from RBC's Technology Adoption Panel (4,600 respondents) and store checks suggests Apple saw massive Mac sales in the holiday quarter (Q1/08 end Dec, reporting Jan 22), despite concerns over consumer holiday spending growth. Firm estimates 2.5M Mac were shipped Q1 (2.4M prior), up 14% Q/Q and 54% Y/Y, breaking the record 2.2M Q4.

F08 estimates become $32.8B and $5.11 EPS ($32.7B and $5.08 prior). F09 estimates becomes $40.6B and $6.23 EPS ($40.4B and $6.19 prior).

RBC expects MacWorld to be somewhat less dramatic than 2007's MacWorld iPhone launch. Reiterates Outperform and $215 tgt.

- Lastly, via Reuters: Apple Inc and China Mobile have called off talks to launch the U.S. firm's popular iPhones in China, a spokeswoman for the Chinese company said on Monday, further dashing speculation the device will hit the country's store shelves soon.

A spokeswoman for listed China Mobile, the world's largest cellular operator, said its unlisted parent of the same name had "terminated" discussions with Apple, although she would not say why.

Experts said Apple's iPhone faced a spate of technical and fee issues unique to China, including a standard revenue-sharing agreement that China Mobile disliked.

Notablecalls: So, where from here? We have AAPL trading up 2 pts early this AM. This is probably due to overall positive tone of the markets and positive analyst chatter from BAC and RBC.

Yet the China news does not look good. iPhone's China arrival has been considered a pretty much sure thing but now it looks like it's not.

So, my question is: Does AAPL deserve to be up 2pts this morning?