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APPLE'S DECEMBER QUARTER EARNINGS ARE BEING UNDERESTIMATED ONE MORE TIME

|Includes: Apple Inc. (AAPL), GS

Today's Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch site says that the market analysts are estimating earnings for Apple's December quarter (Q1 of 2011 fiscal year) at $5.25.  One more time they are missing the mark quite significantly.  Maybe they just cannot believe a success story like this one... one of the most sure fire investment opportunities of a lifetime.  Even Goldman Sachs came on board today adding Apple to its Conviction Buy list  and a $420 price target (hello, where have they been?) -- better too late (and too low) than never.

My estimate of Apple's December quarter earnings is $6.50/share, 24% above what the professional market analysts are currently saying.  My calculation is based on using the simple assumption that Q1 will be up at least 40% vs. Q4 2010. This is a conservative estimate versus the Q1 2010 to Q4 2009 comparison in which earnings per share were up 37%. Why is this estimate conservative?  The Q1 '09 to Q1 '10 quarter to quarter gain did not have the iPAD contribution nor does it allow for increasing enterprise sales (business vs. consumer) success.

Using a forward average run rate of $6.50 per quarter and a very conservative price to earnings ratio of 20 to 1, the stock can be expected to go to $520 per share in the next 12 months, $100 or about 25% above the current GS estimate. This of course ignores the likelihood that Apple will continue to grow its earnings over Fiscal 2011 at a rate that it has in the last couple of years.

Growth engines with significantly increasing momentum include the IPAD, Apple's penetration in the enterprise and it's increasing sales worldwide, particularly in Asia.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL.