Citi and Credit Suisse Lift Apple Stock Price Target, Veeco at Neutral

Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL): Citigroup attributes the 7M unit upside in iPhone units as the main driver of Apple’s significantly better than expected Q1 results. Citi expects another stellar product cycle this year for Apple and reiterates a Buy rating on the stock with an increased price target. Apple price target raised to $550 from $500 at Credit Suisse.

Illumina Inc.(NASDAQ:ILMN): Piper Jaffray views Roche’s (RHHBY) potential acquisition of Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) as a strategic fit, but thinks the offer price will need to be greater than the current $44.50. Piper thinks a price of at least 25% higher, or $56 per share, will be necessary to get the deal done, and believes the process could be drawn out as a result.

Life Technologies Corporation(NASDAQ:LIFE): Leerink believes Roche’s (RHHBY) hostile takeover bid for Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) will give a boost to other stocks with direct exposure to sequencing, namely Life Technologies (NASDAQ:LIFE), Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ:PACB) and Complete Genomics (NASDAQ:GNOM). The firm thinks Illumina will not agree to a takeover anywhere near the current offer price and expects the process to drag on for some time.

Veeco Instruments Inc.(NASDAQ:VECO): Citigroup expects MOCVD orders to bottom in Q1, but expects the recovery to be slow and sees at most 350 MOCVD tools shipping in 2012, which is down 50% year-over-year. The firm’s channel checks indicate Veeco (NASDAQ:VECO) is keeping all customer deposits when cancellations are occurring and is charging an additional 20% just to push out delivery. Citi expects Veeco’s Q4 results to meet or slightly miss guidance and keeps a Neutral rating on the stock. The firm expects Aixtron’s (NASDAQ:AIXG) 2012 earnings guidance to be just above breakeven, well below the consensus estimate of 68c. Citi keeps a Sell rating on Aixtron shares.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com