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Apple hits all-time high, sees rare downgrade


Apple Inc.'s stock hit a new high on Monday, shortly after the gadget maker announced record sales of the new iPhone 4S.

Meanwhile, the company was smacked with a rare downgrade. BGC Partners is the brave firm making the call, going to "hold" from "buy," and the logic is pretty sound. Analyst Colin Gillis noted the shares are right around a "life time" high, and said there's likely to be a better opportunity to build a position in the stock sometime soon, given the sharp run-up in the past 10 days or so.

"We no longer suggest being overweight shares of AAPL and see that near-term downside risk outweighs upside reward," Gillis wrote. "Shares have gained 14 per cent since October 7, and increased 31 per cent year-to-date. With the largest market capitalization for a U.S based company at $391-billion (U.S.), any hiccup in its growth is likely to provide an opportunity to add to positions at a better price."

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The analyst action happened just hours after Apple's upbeat announcement. "iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend -- the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days," explained Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a statement released before market open.

Apple also announced that more than 25 million customers are using its new iOS 5 mobile operating system. Some 20 million customers have signed up for the tech giant's new iCloud service, it added.

The iPhone 4S, which was unveiled in a blaze of publicity earlier this month, disappointed some Apple fan boys who were hoping for new hardware in the shape of an iPhone 5. Consumers, however, are clearly keen to get their hands on the new features within the iPhone 4S, which include a faster processor, an improved camera and the 'Siri' voice-activated assistant.

Last week, Apple noted extremely robust initial demand for the iPhone 4S, explaining that the device had broken the company's record for pre-orders in a single day.

Apple reports its fourth-quarter results after the market close on Tuesday.

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