By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
September 17, 2009

With Apple (AAPL) closing at $184.55 a share Thursday — up 1.47% to hit a 15-month high — it’s probably time for the legion of analysts who follow the stock to start rethinking their published price targets.

The current high target, $264, was set on air Tuesday by Mad Money’s Jim Cramer. But he’s more showman than analyst — even if he did trigger a 6.71 point (3.83%) rally the next day. (See here.)

Now more serious analysts are in the awkward position of having to follow Cramer without looking like Mad Money dittoheads.

The situation is especially uncomfortable for those with positive recommendations and targets — many set months ago — that are still well below the stock’s current price. It’s a surprisingly distinguished group that includes, according to AAPLinvestors,

  • Thomas Weisel’s Doug Reid ($150)
  • Think Equity’s Vijay Rakesh ($150)
  • FTN Equity’s Bill Fearnley ($155)
  • J. P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz ($167.50)

J. P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz ($167.50)

[An earlier version of this post included Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig  in this list. That was my error.]

The highest targets on record, not counting Cramer’s, are those from RBC Capital’s Mike Abramsky ($250) and Needham’s Charles Wolf ($235).

The lowest, $90, set back in February by Calyon Securities’s Shelby Seyrafi, is at least consistent with Seyrafi’s “underperform” rating.

Below: the full list of 45 analyst ratings tracked by AAPLinvestors.

Company

Analyst

Date

Rating

Target

Needham & Co

Charles Wolf

15 Sep 2009

Strong Buy

$235

Argus

Wendy Abramowitz

11 Sep 2009

Buy

$195

AmTech Research

Brian Marshall

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$210

JMP Securities

Samuel Wilson

10 Sep 2009

Outperform

$200

Piper Jaffray

Gene Muster

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$186

Caris & Co.

Robert Cihra

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$200

*RBC Capital Markets

*Mike Abramsky

*10 Sep 2009

*Outperform

*$250

Morgan Stanley

Katy Huberty

8 Sep 2009

Overweight

$200

William Blair

Ralph Schackart

3 Sep 2009

Outperform

Credit Suisse

Bill Shope

1 Sep 2009

Outperform

$200

Standard & Poor

Clyde Montevirgen

28 Aug 2009

Buy

$200

Thomas Weisel Partners

Doug Reid

21 Aug 2009

Overweight

$180

Sanford Bernstein

Toni Sacconaghi

18 Aug 2009

Outperform

$185

Barclays Capital

Ben Reitzes

13 Aug 2009

Overweight

$208

UBS

Maynard Um

10 Aug 2009

Buy

$170

Citigroup

Richard Gardner

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$196

Merril Lynch

Scott Craig

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$185

Pacific Crest

Andy Hargreaves

22 Jul 2009

Outperform

$190

Goldman Sachs

David Bailey

22 Jul 2009

Neutral

$175

Kaufman Bros.

Shaw Wu

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$184

Canaccord Adams

Peter Misek

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$200

Susquehanna

Jeffery Fidicaro

22 Jul 2009

Initiated

$185

Deutsch Bank

Chris Whitmore

22 Jul2009

Buy

$225

J. P. Morgan

Mark Moskowitz

17 Jul 2009

Overweight

$167.50

FTN Equity

Bill Fearnley

2 Jun 2009

Buy

$155

BMO Capital Markets

Keith Backman

9 Jun 2009

Outperform

$150

Oppenheimer

Yair Reiner

4 Jun 2009

Outperform

$160

Societe Generale

3 Jun 2009

Buy

$160

Collins Stewart

Ashok Kumar

3 Jun 2009

Buy

$170

Cross Research

Shannon Cross

23 Apr 2009

Buy

$160

Morgan Keegan

Tavis McCourt

23 Apr 2009

Outperform

Think Equity

Vijay Rakesh

23 Apr 2009

Buy

$150

Thomas Weisel Partners

Doug Reid

23 Apr 2009

Overweight

$150

Gabelli

Robert Haley

20 Apr 2009

Hold

Calyon Securities

Shelby Seyrafi

24 Feb 2009

Underperform

$90

Bank of America

Scott Craig

8 Oct 2008

Buy

$140

WR Hambrecht

Matthew Kather

28 Jul 2008

Outperform

$257

ThinkPanmure

Darren Aftah

22 Jul 2008

Buy

$200

Changewave

Tobin Smith

10 Jul 2008

$275

Market Pulse

Bernard Schmitt

5 May 2008

Mkt Outperform

Kintisheff Research

24 Apr 2008

Buy

Soleil Securities Group

Daniel Ernst

24 Apr 2008

Buy

$200

Atlantic Equities

7 Apr 2008

Overweight

Hearing Deutsche

4 Feb 2008

Buy

Bear Stearms

Andrew Neff

23 Jan 2008

Outperform

$220

Company

Analyst

Date

Rating

Target

Needham & Co

Charles Wolf

15 Sep 2009

Strong Buy

$235

Argus

Wendy Abramowitz

11 Sep 2009

Buy

$195

AmTech Research

Brian Marshall

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$210

JMP Securities

Samuel Wilson

10 Sep 2009

Outperform

$200

Piper Jaffray

Gene Muster

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$186

Caris & Co.

Robert Cihra

10 Sep 2009

Buy

$200

*RBC Capital Markets

*Mike Abramsky

*10 Sep 2009

*Outperform

*$250

Morgan Stanley

Katy Huberty

8 Sep 2009

Overweight

$200

William Blair

Ralph Schackart

3 Sep 2009

Outperform

Credit Suisse

Bill Shope

1 Sep 2009

Outperform

$200

Standard & Poor

Clyde Montevirgen

28 Aug 2009

Buy

$200

Thomas Weisel Partners

Doug Reid

21 Aug 2009

Overweight

$180

Sanford Bernstein

Toni Sacconaghi

18 Aug 2009

Outperform

$185

Barclays Capital

Ben Reitzes

13 Aug 2009

Overweight

$208

UBS

Maynard Um

10 Aug 2009

Buy

$170

Citigroup

Richard Gardner

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$196

Merril Lynch

Scott Craig

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$185

Pacific Crest

Andy Hargreaves

22 Jul 2009

Outperform

$190

Goldman Sachs

David Bailey

22 Jul 2009

Neutral

$175

Kaufman Bros.

Shaw Wu

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$184

Canaccord Adams

Peter Misek

22 Jul 2009

Buy

$200

Susquehanna

Jeffery Fidicaro

22 Jul 2009

Initiated

$185

Deutsch Bank

Chris Whitmore

22 Jul2009

Buy

$225

J. P. Morgan

Mark Moskowitz

17 Jul 2009

Overweight

$167.50

FTN Equity

Bill Fearnley

2 Jun 2009

Buy

$155

BMO Capital Markets

Keith Backman

9 Jun 2009

Outperform

$150

Oppenheimer

Yair Reiner

4 Jun 2009

Outperform

$160

Societe Generale

3 Jun 2009

Buy

$160

Collins Stewart

Ashok Kumar

3 Jun 2009

Buy

$170

Cross Research

Shannon Cross

23 Apr 2009

Buy

$160

Morgan Keegan

Tavis McCourt

23 Apr 2009

Outperform

Think Equity

Vijay Rakesh

23 Apr 2009

Buy

$150

Thomas Weisel Partners

Doug Reid

23 Apr 2009

Overweight

$150

Gabelli

Robert Haley

20 Apr 2009

Hold

Calyon Securities

Shelby Seyrafi

24 Feb 2009

Underperform

$90

Bank of America

Scott Craig

8 Oct 2008

Buy

$140

WR Hambrecht

Matthew Kather

28 Jul 2008

Outperform

$257

ThinkPanmure

Darren Aftah

22 Jul 2008

Buy

$200

Changewave

Tobin Smith

10 Jul 2008

$275

Market Pulse

Bernard Schmitt

5 May 2008

Mkt Outperform

Kintisheff Research

24 Apr 2008

Buy

Soleil Securities Group

Daniel Ernst

24 Apr 2008

Buy

$200

Atlantic Equities

7 Apr 2008

Overweight

Hearing Deutsche

4 Feb 2008

Buy

Bear Stearms

Andrew Neff

23 Jan 2008

Outperform

$220

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