Apple’s stock is going up, up and away in Friday trading as Wall Street got its first glimpse of the demand for the iPhone 5.
As of 3 p.m. Eastern, the stock was trading consistent above $690 per share after opening at a record high of $689.97, according to Nasdaq’s Web site.
Investors have reason to be encouraged. The Cupertino, Calif. firm has already had to push back the shipping estimates on the phones it’s pre-selling online now, indicating that it has run through the stock that it had ready for its largest global launch in history. Apple will begin selling the device in stores on Sept. 21, in nine worldwide markets across North America, Europe and Asia. It will hit 22 more countries on Sept. 28.
Apple’s efficient and aggressive rollout surprised analysts, who had heard rumors of supply constraints.
Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee said in a note to investors Thursday that the sooner-than-expected shipments mean that he’s raising his sales estimates on all iPhone models for the September quarter from 23 million units to 26 million units. By the end of the year, Wu said, the company may sell 46 million iPhones. Others, Bloomberg reported, expect sales of up to 48.2 million by the end of December.
And what of Apple’s stock? Wu has a price target of $820, while the consensus 12-month price target range is a bit more conservative at $775. though Nasdaq shows that estimates have gone as high as $910.