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Apple products race out the door

APPLE Inc rose as much as 10 percent in German trading after holiday demand beat analysts' estimates last quarter, helping allay concerns that the recession and the absence of Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will stymie growth.

Overseas demand for iPod players, Macintosh computers and iPhones offset a United States slowdown and pushed quarterly sales past US$10 billion for the first time, Apple said yesterday. Analysts had expected profit to drop for the first time in five years.

The cachet of Apple's products helped the company maintain orders and command premium prices, even as the economy shrank, job losses swelled and consumer lending dried up. By updating models and pushing into new countries, Apple was able to shrug off the worst holiday shopping season in four decades. The company also is coping with the temporary loss of Jobs, who is taking medical leave until June.

"It shows that people, even in a downturn, like Apple products and want to buy them," said Andy Hargreaves, an analyst with Oregon firm Pacific Crest Securities, Bloomberg News reported.

First-quarter net income rose 1.5 percent to US$1.61 billion , or US$1.78 a share, from US$1.58 billion, or US$1.76, a year earlier, Apple said. Sales rose 5.8 percent to US$10.2 billion in the period ended December 27.

Analysts had predicted a drop in profit after sales at US retailers fell more than twice as much as forecast in December, the sixth straight month of declines. The US accounts for more than half of Apple's revenue.



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