“Apple announced on Monday that iPhone 5 pre-order sales shattered previous records and AT&T also reported stellar iPhone numbers,” Chris Ciaccia reports for TheStreet. “With all of this, and the stock surpassing $700, a number of analysts believe there’s at least 20% upside ahead.”

“Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig raised his price target from $770 to $850, citing more than 20% upside from current levels, with a faster-than-expected iPhone 5 rollout prompting him to raise his earnings estimates,” Ciaccia reports. “‘Our new EPS estimates are meaningfully above Street, with potentially another ~5% upside to our above consensus $56 EPS estimate for F2013 if Apple’s gross margin were to progress similar to the iPhone 4S cycle,’ Craig wrote in his research note. He rates Apple shares ‘buy.'”

Ciaccia reports, “Apple has said that the iPhone 5 will be available in 100 countries, including China, by the end of the year. This is a testament to the job CEO Tim Cook’s doing. The Apple chief may not be the product visionary his predecessor Steve Jobs was, but he’s undoubtedly an operations genius.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]