Apple's Profits Beat Wall Street's Forecasts

Apple Inc.'s results reported Monday afternoon were almost too good to believe.

When the computer company started making happy talk about the holiday season, the recession seemed very far away indeed.

What separates Apple from other companies beating their numbers is a simple matter of which numbers are being beat. In the early days of an economic recovery, revenue is king.

Apple's sales shot up 24 percent to almost $10 billion in the quarter. That translates into 7.4 million iPhones and 3.1 million Macintosh computers out the door. Who is buying this stuff?

Apparently, the American consumer is saving on Band-aids and splurging on electronic toys. Johnson & Johnson beat a number too last week, reporting higher-than-expected profits. But revenues were a disappointment, so the stock flagged, Chicago Tribune reports.

It was also reported, Apple's earnings of $1.67 billion far exceeded analysts' expectations and were another sign that the technology sector might be a bellwether for a larger recovery. Apple's results followed others in recent weeks that have beaten Wall Street's forecasts, including Google Inc. reporting Friday that its quarterly profit jumped 27%.

"We are thrilled with these results," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said during a conference call with analysts, "particularly given the economic environment around us."

Analysts were expecting the company to report net income of $1.3 billion on sales of $9.1 billion in the quarter that ended Sept. 26, but sales jumped 24% from the year-earlier quarter to $9.87 billion, The Los Angeles Times reports.

News agencies also report, Apple sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, an 8 percent unit decline from a year ago. However, the company recorded a year-over-year increase in Mac computer and iPhone shipments during the quarter. Apple shipped 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, a 17 percent unit year-over-year increase. The company sold 7.4 million iPhones for 7 percent year-over-year unit growth.

Apple also set new highs in iPhone shipments, helped by the addition of new countries. The company is looking to expand even farther by launching the iPhone in China by the end of this month through 1,000 points of sale. Apple will offer the iPhone through China Unicom, with plans ranging from $18 to $85 per month

Apple sells the iPhone 3GS in 64 countries today and will increase that to 80 countries by the end of the year. It will also start offering the phone though multiple carriers in countries including the United Kingdom , PC World reports.

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