Apple Gives Analysts Vertigo

Shares of Apple have hit one new all-time high after another this year, and on Wednesday, two analysts said enough’s enough.

Bank of America and Bear Stearns downgraded the stock, saying that while the company’s business remains strong, the stock’s valuation is getting a little stretched.

Apple shares have soared 1,000% since early 2003, driven by the company’s dominance in digital music players and a resurgence in Mac sales. At their recent peak of $75.46, Apple shares had doubled the company’s April 2000 peak of $37.60.

At 46 times earnings, Apple’s valuation is more than double that of Microsoft , Cisco and Intel , which have price-to-earnings ratios of about 20.

Apple shares lost 4% Wednesday.

Blue chips rose once again Wednesday on optimism that the Federal Reserve’s 18-month rate hike campaign may finally be drawing to a close.

The Nasdaq slipped 2 to 2262, the S&P 500 climbed 5 to 1262, and the Dow gained 60 to 10,883. Volume declined to 2.2 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.76 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-13 on the NYSE, while decliners led 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 67% on the NYSE, and 34% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 157-114 on the NYSE, and 132-41 on the Nasdaq.

ADC Telecom jumped 12% on its results.

Lionbridge rose 10% on a secondary offering, NeoMagic fell 17% on its private placement plans, and lost 6% on news that 3 million insider shares will soon be eligible for sale.

Digi fell 15% on its guidance, while SI jumped 14% on its outlook.

Anteon soared on a buyout offer from General Dynamics .

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