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Caris & Co. projects Macs sales to top 12 million in 2009

Investment bank Caris & Company increased its price target on shares of Apple Inc. to $175 from $165 on Monday, citing strong sales of the company's Mac line and expectations of continued growth in the personal computer market for the foreseeable future.

In a research note to client investors, analyst Shebly Seyrafi initiated a 24 percent increase in his Mac sales forecast for the Cupertino-based company's 2009 calendar year, saying he expects the company to ship 12.1 million Macs during the twelve month period, up from his previous projection of 9.8 million units.

"Recent new Mac products — MacBook, iMac — along with Leopard shipping in October promise continued Mac momentum," he wrote.

To go along with his increased Mac sales estimate, the analyst also tweaked his iPhone model, saying he now expects the company to ship over 27.6 million iPhones in 2009, up from 27.1 million units.

"The recent the $200 price reduction on the iPhone (which resulted in Apple proclaiming in early September that it already shipped over 1 million iPhones) was the correct move by the company as it allowed [sic] the prior price point was too high for consumers," he wrote.

The analyst made no changes to his expectations for iPod sales in 2009, which remain at a bullish 84.1 million units. His calendar year 2008 Mac, iPhone and iPod unit forecasts are currently listed at 9 million, 12.5 million, and 64.5 million units, respectively.

"We remain bullish on Apple's stock as the company has multiple levers to drive growth going forward: new iPod models, geographic expansion (in Europe starting in November, in Asia in 2008), and new Macs launched earlier this year," Seyrafi told clients.

In raising his 12-month price target on the company's shares, the analyst also bumped his fiscal 2007, 2008, and 2009 per-share earnings estimates to $3.91, $4.61, and $5.48 from $3.87, $4.47 and $5.08, respectively.

For Apple's just-ended September quarter, results of which will be announced later this month, Seyrafi is expecting the company to announce per-share earnings of $0.98 on revenues of $6.24 billion, which would include projected sales of 1.4 million iPhones, 11.5 million iPods, and just over 2 million Macs.