New iPod buzz drives Apple shares higher


NEW YORK -- Apple Inc. shares rose more than 4.5% on Wednesday, fueled by excitement over the pending launch of new iPod digital music players, which could entice current users to buy upgraded models.

The stock climbed $5.74 to $132.56 in early trading on the Nasdaq, after Apple distributed invitations to a September 5 event in San Francisco. Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients that the date would bring "the almost certain launch of a new family of iPods."

"The product announcement is likely to include a full lineup of revamped iPods with significantly greater functionality at current price points, including the much-anticipated full-screen video iPod," Goldman said.

Goldman recommended clients buy Apple shares, saying the next video iPod could drive "an accelerated upgrade cycle."

Apple shares are up about 55% this year, driven by the steady strength of the iPod, which dominates the portable music player market, and the late June launch of the iPhone.

The share gains come despite top mobile-phone maker Nokia's unveiling on Wednesday of its own online music store, new top-end handsets aimed at rivaling Apple.

Separately, Apple said Wednesday that it will sell television programs in Britain via its iTunes store as part of a push to become a one-stop shop for digital entertainment.