Apple target price cut, shares rise anyway

Oppenheimer analyst cites concerns about iPhone delay in trimming sales forecast

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A possible delay in the release of the iPhone 5 prompted a financial analyst to reduce his target price for shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Ittai Kidron cut his 12- to 18-month target price for Apple shares to $420 from $450, according to BusinessWeek.

(Also see: Apple's retail stores: Great places to shop, miserable places to work)

Despite the target-price trimming, Apple's stock was up early Tuesday 8.02, or 2.5 percent, to 323.34 from Monday's closing price of 315.32.

Of course, it should be pointed out that even with the price cut, Kidron's target is 33 percent above Monday's close, so he's not exactly panicking here. And neither are investors.

Kidron retained his "outperform" rating for Apple's stock, though he trimmed his forecast for iPhone sales in the quarter ending in September to 19 million units from 20.5 million, a 7 percent reduction.

From BusinessWeek:

"We've been modeling a full month of new iPhone sales in September and now believe it’s more prudent to model a late September, October launch," he wrote in the note. "This suggests possible modest quarter-on-quarter growth trends in September, and not the strong growth we previously modeled."

Since hitting an all-time high of 364.90 on Feb. 16, Apple shares have fallen 13.6 percent through Monday's close as investors have become concerned over the company's ability to fend off stiff competition from Research in Motion, Microsoft and Nokia. (I kid the Street!)

Seriously, ongoing concerns about the health of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who took an indefinite medical leave of absence in January, undoubtedly have weighed down shares through the first half of the year, despite the dominance of the iPad in the emerging tablet market.

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