Ahead of the bell: Apple had strong weekend

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2009 8:48 AM

Apple Inc. appears to have done well over the Thanksgiving weekend even without steep discounting and despite the release of Windows 7 _ a testament to the resilience of its products, an analyst said Monday.

Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said in-the-field checks revealed strong foot traffic at Apple stores even if Black Friday discounts were a "modest" 4 to 10 percent on a limited set of products. The blockbuster iPhone was not on sale.

Third-party retailers that sell Apple products were more promotional. Discounts at retailers including Best Buy, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Target were as much as 20 percent compared to 11 to 13 percent in prior years. Some included gift cards of $50 to $150.

Apple's popularity also is remarkable given that its Mac computers sell at two to three times the price of PCs, he said. Apple has done well given competitive pressure from Windows users who are upgrading to Windows 7.

Wu said it looks like new iMacs and MacBooks are out of stock at certain retailers or in limited supply _ a good sign going into the holiday season.

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As such, Wu said his sales forecast of 2.9 million Macs in the quarter _ already higher than what other Apple analysts are expecting on average _ is "likely conservative."

He said the release of the Snow Leopard operating system, new iPods and desktop Macs and a potential new product is expected boost sales in coming quarters.

Wu rates the shares at "Buy."

Shares rose $1.62 to $202.21 in premarket trading.