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Apple earnings just keep on growing

APPLE Inc coasted past Wall Street's expectations for its fiscal third quarter on a wave of laptop and iPhone sales. It did so during a quarter in which total computer shipments fell worldwide. And it did it without sacrificing profit.

Investors sent Cupertino, California-based Apple's stock up US$6.82, or 4.5 percent, to US$158.33 in after-hours trading on Tuesday. Shares had dipped US$1.40 to end regular trading at US$151.51.

"Times are tough. Apple continues to post pretty strong numbers," said Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Bros. "It's pretty incredible."

Apple said earnings for the three months to June 27 jumped 15 percent to US$1.23 billion, or US$1.35 per share. Apple's profit was US$1.07 billion, or US$1.19 per share, in the same period last year.

The company said sales increased 12 percent to US$8.34 billion from US$7.46 billion from the same quarter last year.

Analysts were expecting Apple to earn US$1.17 per share on US$8.20 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

"In a better economy I think we would have sold even more," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said.

Apple sold more than 5.2 million iPhones in the quarter, more than seven times that of the 2008 quarter, thanks in part to a newly released version of the device. Apple also sold 4 percent more Mac computers than a year ago, with a 13 percent rise in laptop unit sales more than making up for a 10 percent drop in desktops.

Researchers recently reported a 3 to 5 percent decline for the overall worldwide PC market in the same period. Apple's decision to cut laptop prices helped it buck the industry trend, even though the move dragged laptop revenue down 2 percent. Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, said Mac sales picked up after the cuts.

Although iPod Touch sales more than doubled, total iPod sales fell 7 percent. Oppenheimer said such declines were to be expected as Apple offers similar features in the iPod Touch and the iPhone.



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