Apple beats Street, stock jumps
iPod maker's earnings jump 48 percent thanks to strong sales of iPods and Intel-powered Macs; stock rallies after-hours.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Apple Computer Wednesday reported that net earnings jumped 48 percent in the latest quarter, topping forecasts on Wall Street.
The maker of iPods and Mac computers reported earnings of 54 cents a share for its fiscal third quarter ended July 1, up from 37 cents a year earlier. Analysts had been looking for profits of 44 cents a share, according to a survey by Thomson First Call.
Net income jumped to $472 million from $320 million.
Sales climbed to $4.37 billion from $3.5 billion, about in line with forecasts of $4.4 billion.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., said it expects $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion in revenue for the current quarter, below analysts' expectations of $4.9 billion, and earnings of 46 cents to 48 cents a share after a three-cent charge for stock-based compensation. Analysts had been forecasting profit of 52 cents a share for the current quarter.
The company shipped 1.3 million Macs in the quarter, up 12 percent from a year ago and just above Wall Street analysts' expectations of about 1.25 million, as customers grabbed up new Mac models containing Intel chips. The company said its entire Mac line will make the switch to Intel chips by the end of the year.
"We're thrilled with the growth of our Mac business, and especially that over 75 percent of the Macs sold during the quarter used Intel processors. This is the smoothest and most successful transition that any of us have ever experienced," CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement.
Apple announced iPod shipments of 8.1 million in its second quarter, up 32 percent from a year earlier and slightly above many analysts' expectations of 8 million, said Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.
"All the news out of this (report) remains positive," said Barry Jaruzelski, vice president and managing partner in consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton's technology practice. But, the "macro issue remains, what's the follow up for the iPod?"
"At some point the whole (MP3) category will plateau," Jaruzelski said, adding that Apple's 75 percent market share means the company will be particularly vulnerable if demand for portable audio players slows down.
Apple's stock has lagged near its 52-week low recently due to concerns that updated versions of the iPod may be delayed to the fourth quarter and that sales of the iPod Nano, introduced last October, have been sluggish.
Apple executives declined to detail when the next iPod would be released, but CFO Peter Oppenheimer said "we are very confident with the products in our pipeline."
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