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Jim Cramer. Photo: CNBC

Apple (AAPL) shares rose 1.3% in after-hours trading Tuesday after Mad Money host — and confessed Apple stock manipulator — Jim Cramer raised his price target from $200 a share to $264.

Shares opened Wednesday at $178, up 1.6% from Tuesday’s close, and by 12:25 p.m. were trading at $182.72 on high volume. The stock ended the day at $181.87, up $6.71 (3.83%), its strongest close since June 2008.

Cramer had argued on air that an accounting rule change that allows Apple to recognize the “true earnings” from its iPhone sales will cause the Street’s 2011 earnings estimates for Apple to go from $8 a share to $12 a share.

The rule change is now in draft form, but Cramer believes will be approved by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in a few weeks.

Many analysts have written about the effects of Apple’s so-called subscription accounting, and company executives have taken pains to explain its significance at nearly every quarterly earnings call.

But Cramer believes the accounting change will take most money managers — whom he says don’t look past Apple’s price-to-earnings ratio — by surprise.

Commentators at Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity board were skeptical of Cramer but impressed by his ability to move the market. “Hey if the guy can pump us to 260 then all the power to him,” wrote one.

Another re-published a eyebrow-raising tweet posted at 6:18 p.m. ET Wednesday.

anyone notice that $AAPL vol spike RIGHT BEFORE cramer went on to talk about it? shady business over @cnbc

Cramer’s video is copied below.  You may want to turn your volume down.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.3432638&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Also, just for fun, the Jon Stewart Daily Show segment in which Stewart confronts Cramer with the famous video of Cramer bragging to a reporter from The Street about how easy it is to manipulate Apple stock price.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.3469859&w=425&h=350&fv=autoPlay%3Dfalse]

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