Thursday, July 27, 2006

Apple's iPod sales fuel robust income report, shares surge

Apple Computer Inc easily topped Wall Street's income forecast for the spring quarter with a nearly 48 per cent profit increase driven largely by the continued popularity of its industry-leading iPod music player.

Company shares rose more than eight per cent in late-session trading.

For its fiscal third quarter ended July 1, Apple's profit rose to USD 472 million, or 54 cents a share, up from $ 320 million, or 37 cents per share in the same period of 2005. That was 10 cents per share better than the mean forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Sales grew to $ 4.37 billion from $ 3.52 billion last year. That number was within the range of Apple's April forecast for quarterly sales of $ 4.2 billion to $ 4.4 billion, but fell shy of the mean estimate of $ 4.4 billion among analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

The Cupertino, California-based company shipped 1.3 million Macintosh computers and 8.1 million iPods -- the overwhelming leader among digital music players -- during the quarter. The numbers represent a 12 per cent increase in Mac sales and more than a 32 per cent jump for iPods from the third quarter in 2005.

The "iPod continued to earn a US market share of over 75 per cent and we are extremely excited about future iPod products in our pipeline," said CEO Steve Jobs.

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