Goldman Finds More Reasons to Like Apple, HP and Seagate

Includes: AAPL, HPQ, STX
by: FP Trading Desk

After flying 7,795 miles to meet with technology hardware companies in Asia, the team of analysts at Goldman Sach (NYSE:GS) says it found even more reasons to like Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL), Hewlett-Packard Co.(NYSE:HPQ), and Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX). All three names are on the firm’s Conviction Buy list.

“Nobody can stop the HP train,” one supplier told Goldman of the company’s huge lead in the red hot notebook market. Srong PC demand, stable pricing and low inventories position Seagate with a better-than-seasonal start to 2008, analyst David Bailey told clients in a note.

As for Apple, Goldman’s checks in Asia point to strong holiday sales for both iPods and Macs, with more products coming in 2008. While details regarding the next version of the iPhone are still unclear given that the product is in the final design stage, Mr. Bailey thinks it could have a different look and will likely include 3G capability. He expects it will launch in the second half of 2008, while a smaller upgrade with more flash memory should come earlier in the year.

“Apart from U.S. macro concerns, rising China manufacturing costs is a growing theme, and one which we expect to get a lot more airtime,” the analyst said.

Goldman expects another year of “surprisingly high” growth for the notebook segment in Asia. It said Dell Inc.’s (NASDAQ:DELL) progress is “very uneven” but still moving forward.

In the slowing printer market, HP and Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) are leaving tier II players with “fewer ways out,” while Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE:LXK) appears to have lost even more ground.

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