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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event as he introduces the new iPad as an image the device is projected on screen in San Francisco, California March 7, 2012. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/Robert Galbraith/REUTERS)
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event as he introduces the new iPad as an image the device is projected on screen in San Francisco, California March 7, 2012. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/Robert Galbraith/REUTERS)

Eye on Equities

A new high for an Apple price target Add to ...

It may not have been as revolutionary as some of its earlier product launches, but Apple Inc.’s latest generation iPad still received accolades from the Street.

In fact, one analyst, FBN Securities’ Shebly Seyrafi, boosted his price target to a new high on Wall Street - $730 (U.S.) per share. That surpasses the previous highest target, $710, from Barclay Capital’s Ben Reitzes.

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In the wake of Wednesday’s announcement from Apple, Mr. Seyrafi increased his 2012 iPad sales estimates to 61.2 million units from 56.2 million. In the third quarter alone, he expects sales of 15 million units, up from his forecast of 13 million.

He notes that Apple largely satisfied consumers’ expectations by announcing a retina display, 4G long-term evolution capability, a new quad-core processor, and a five megapixel back-facing camera with high-definition video-recording capability.

The Street already has a love affair going with Apple - and the new iPad appears to have only intensified the feelings. According to Bloomberg data, 50 analysts have buy ratings, 15 holds, and only one a sell recommendation. The average price target is about $593 (U.S.)

That sole sell rating comes from ACI Research’s Edward Zabitsky, who has a price target of a mere $270. Not surprisingly, he’s garnered considerable skepticism among Apple faithful for his contrarian viewpoints, which centres on the rising threat from competitors. (He was recently grilled on his extreme pessimism on CNBC. Click here to check it out.)

But for most on the Street, the bullish Apple story is still intact and only reinforced by the new Ipad.

Here’s a sampling of a few comments, as quoted by Forbes:

“We believe the new iPad has raised the bar relative to competing tablets with impressive hardware specifications, competitive pricing, and the leading software ecosystem that includes over 200k iPad-specific applications.” – Michael Walkley, Canaccord Genuity

“Overall, this upgrade to the iPad line continues to keep Apple well ahead of its competition in terms of hardware specs, and obviously the application ecosystem remains in a class by itself. There is no reason to believe that Apple’s dominant market share won’t continue through 2012 with ARM-based Windows 8 tablets a big wild card for 2013.” – Tavis McCourt, Morgan Keegan

“The new iPad hardware/spec upgrades were consistent with our expectations and help Apple continue its dominance against competing tablets,” he writes. – Bill Choi, Janney Capital

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Laurentian Bank of Canada reported fiscal first-quarter earnings per share that were a couple cents below consensus forecasts, but this was mostly due to the new IFRS accounting rules, noted CIBC World Markets Inc. analyst Robert Sedran. While the bank’s profit growth should slow, he expects ongoing pressure on lending interest income to be offset from growth in fee-based income from its recent MRS acquisition.

Downside: Mr. Sedran cut his price target by $2 to $49 and reiterated a “sector performer” rating.

More: Laurentian Bank profit drops 16%

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Canadian Western Bank saw robust first-quarter earnings thanks to strong loan growth in Western Canada, a trend that Desjardins Securities Inc. analyst Michael Goldberg sees continuing. “It has the infrastructure, relationships and capital to support its growth, and we believe that CWB’s favourable earnings and dividend growth prospects justify a premium valuation,” he said.

Upside: Mr. Goldberg maintained a “buy” rating and $36 price target.

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5N Plus Inc.’s quarterly results on Monday will likely show continued sales pressure in Europe and sustained price weakness for metals such as cadmium, gallium and tellurium, predicts CIBC World Markets Inc. analyst Ian Tharp. While reiterating his “sector outperformer” rating, he believes these factors mean more risk for 5N’s high inventory levels and pricing power.

Upside: Mr. Tharp cut his price target by $2 to $8.

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Given Petrominerales Ltd.’s premium valuation compared with peers, the stock’s downside risks - including the potential for more disappointing exploration results - is materially higher than any upside potential, said Raymond James Ltd. analyst Rafi Khouri. Petrominerales was the only company in its peer group to deliver year-over-year reserve declines for 2011, despite spending $396.1-million on exploration, he noted.

Downside: Mr. Khouri downgraded the oil and gas firm to “market perform” from “underperform” and cut his price target by $4 to $14.

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Follow Darcy Keith on Twitter or Stocktwits for the latest analyst actions and exclusive investing news, actionable trading ideas & analysis.

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