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Monday, January 24, 2011, 08:40 am PT (11:40 am ET)

After pullback, even 'value' investors should eye Apple stock - report

Concerns about the health of Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs have caused the company's stock to take a hit, even as it reported record earnings last week. The news has left Apple's stock vastly undervalued, according to one Wall Street analyst, who has a price target of $550.

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities issued a note to investors on Monday noted that it's a good time to look at AAPL stock, given the pullback in shares last week after the announcement last week that Jobs would take a medical leave of absence. Even without Jobs, White sees Apple's stock rocketing to a new high of $550 in the next 12 months, based on a strong product lineup and growing sales.

"Jobs's medical leave of absence... overshadowed a big December quarter print and March quarter outlook," White wrote. "Although there could be further selling pressure, we believe the risk-reward is becoming so favorable that even value investors should begin buying the stock."

The analyst said he believes Jobs has been building a strong team that will be able to successfully lead Apple into the future. He also believes that were it not for concerns about Jobs' health over the last few years, AAPL stock would never be trading at "such a discount."

"With Apple's hot product portfolio, we expect the company to continue outperforming the tech sector over the next several years," he said.

Ticonderoga


For fiscal year 2011, Ticonderoga Securities is projecting 56 percent revenue growth and 54 percent earnings per share growth. That growth will be driven by the new CDMA iPhone 4, set to debut on the Verizon network in the U.S. on Feb. 10, followed by anticipated launches of the iPad 2, new MacBook Pros, and the iPhone 5.

In particular, White sees strong sales of the iPhone and iPad driving the much documented "halo effect" that drives new consumers to the Mac platform. White said the Mac appears to be going through a "renaissance," and he expects that performance to only improve in the coming years. He sees Apple selling 16.7 million Macs and 27.4 million iPads in fiscal year 2011.

Ticonderoga Securities' $550 price target is based on an earnings per share estimate plus net cash per share of $63.98. White's numbers equate to a straight price-to-earnings ratio of 22x, which is below the 26x multiple AAPL stock has seen over the last six years.