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Analysis: Apple shares see average 4% boost around major events

With Apple's annual developers conference rapidly approaching and expectations for a 3G iPhone launch at the conference running high, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has taken a look back at how shares of the company have faired around similar events.

Specifically, the analyst examined the stock's performance around the last 14 product launch events dating back to the 2004 introduction of the iMac G5 at the Apple Expo in Paris —a trade show the company is believed to have ducked out of this year for unspecified reasons.

On average, he found shares traded down 0.7% the day of the event, up 0.4% from the day before to the week after an event, and up 4.2% from the week before to the week after an event.

The two largest gains came around the Macworld 2007 iPhone announcement and the Paris Expo 2004 iMac G5 announcement, when shares rose 15.9% and 15.1%, respectively, from the week before the events to the week after.

Meanwhile, the two biggest slides followed the company's 2005 WWDC announcement that it would transition to Intel chips and the 2008 Macworld introduction of the MacBook Air. Shares fell 11.5 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively, during the two weeks surrounding those events.

In his report, Munster said he believes Apple's efforts during 2008, including this month's expected launch of a 3G iPhone, simply represents the groundwork for 2009 to be a breakout year for the iPhone.

"The bigger picture is beyond the 3G iPhone," he wrote. "We are bullish on the iPhone in 2009 based on our belief that there will be a family of iPhones by January of 2009, availability of 3rd party apps, global distribution, and carrier subsidies."

Historical Apple Share Performance

For the next month or so, he expects that investors will focus on initial 3G iPhone sales performance but then quickly shift back the Mac, which currently stands as Apple's biggest growth driver, with sales rising some 50 percent in April, according to the latest market data from IDC.

"While Mac units will likely not finish the quarter up 50%, we believe the April NPD points to June quarter Mac upside," Munster wrote. "The bottom line: while the Street is aware that Apple is gaining market share, we believe the magnitude of the shift is being underestimated."

The analyst reiterated his Buy rating on shares of Apple with a price target of $250 per share.