Tech Business Roundup: Apple’s Target Price, Microsoft’s Most Important Launch in Years

Sterne Agee raises Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) target price to $620 from $550 as it awaits the new iPad, commenting that, “While a new iPad announcement is arguably the worst kept secret among AAPL aficionados, we nonetheless believe the news will be material”.

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Qualcomm’s (NASDAQ:QCOM) stud MSM8960 chipset is a device of interest to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which is reportedly testing it, in hopes of having it ready for a Windows Phone 8 later this year. It’s also thought that Sprint (NYSE:S) shares this interest and has provided its LTE specs to Nokia (NYSE:NOK).

JPMorgan downgrades Coinstar (NASDAQ:CSTR) to Neutral from Overweight, with a price target of $62. Further, Notable Calls says that the JPMorgan move was ‘strictly a valuation call’, and that investors should pay more attention to Wedbush, who is recommending that its clients take profits after the big run-up.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) most important launch in years’, says Tom Krazit, about the introduction of the Metro UI, the support for ARM-based CPUs, and the arrival of the Windows Store. The company is hosting a Windows 8 event at MWC (live blog) and is bringing out its free consumer preview, in a major innovative effort to revolutionize user experience, to rebuff tablets competition.

Investing Insights: Windows 8 Takes a Cue from Apple’s OS.

In a direct response to PayPal’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) introduction of its app last year, American Express (NYSE:AXP) launches a free Facebook app that enables users to pay each other on its social networking site.

The prepaid wireless market pricing trends are looking down for MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), which contributed to Tuesday’s losses, and leading Nomura to begin coverage with a Neutral. The analyst commented that it has a “negatively biased outlook” for that market, but it considers MetroPCS to be in a better spot than its rival Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), which it also graded Neutral. Nomura also noted that these shares will likely be completely subject to the industry’s pricing trends.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lawson at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

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