Apple gains could power Dow past 22,000

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(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) surprisingly strong quarterly results and forecast pushed the iPhone maker’s shares to a record high, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI on track to breach the 22,000 mark when the market opens.

Apple’s shares were up 5.5 percent at $158.33 in premarket trading, and were set to add another $43 billion to the market capitalization of the world’s most valuable company.

The stock has gained nearly 30 percent this year and closed at $150.05 on Tuesday.

“The Appleverse is expanding with all segments growing,” UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said.

At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Barclays making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $23 to $146.

The median price target on the stock is $165. The company’s shares closed at $150.05 on Tuesday.

“There is no reason for opportunistic investors to trek to the sidelines given the June-quarter print and Sept-quarter guide,” Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a client note.

Apple on Tuesday reported better-than-expected third-quarter results and indicated that its upcoming 10th-anniversary phone lineup was on schedule.

The phone is expected to launch in September.

Sales of iPad made a surprise comeback in the quarter and were up 15 percent from a year earlier. The company also hit a milestone of 1.2 billion iPhones sold.

Revenue from emerging markets, excluding China, rose 18 percent and remained a bright spot.

Greater China, however, reported its sixth straight decline in revenue, hurt by customers switching to locally made phones.

While analysts agreed that increasing competition in China and a fast saturating smartphone market could lead to slowing growth in the long term, they remained optimistic about the stock’s potential.

“Apple has a sticky ecosystem and large cash balance … providing decent downside support for long-term investors,” Barclays’ Moskowitz said.

Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty