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Apple gets polished up by Citigroup Add to ...

The buzz surrounding the likes of Nortel, Motorola and Yahoo has put the warm fuzzies on the tech sector Monday, so why not toss Apple Inc. into the lovefest?

Apple's stock rose 3.3 per cent to $129.56 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, after Citigroup added the stock to its recently introduced Top Picks Live list - a 59-stock list of the favourite stocks among research analysts at the influential investment bank.

Citigroup technology analyst Richard Gardner was already bullish on Apple, having maintained a "buy" rating on the stock even when it was trading near $200 (U.S.) at the end of last year. The deep sell-off in the stock that has followed - as of last week, it had dropped almost 40 per cent from its Dec. 28 peak - has only strengthened his conviction in the stock. He maintained his 12-month price target at $212, a whopping 63 per cent above Monday's price.

Mr. Gardner believes that the growing talk that Apple will scale back its iPod and iPhone production plans this quarter, in response to the U.S. economic slowdown, "are fully reflected in the stock." He said that while iPod sales growth could well be sluggish for the first half of the year, demand for the company's personal computers is humming along.

 

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