Apple stuns Wall Street with $55M profit

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) on Wednesday obliterated analysts' estimates in its second quarter, posting a profit of $55 million, or $0.

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) on Wednesday obliterated analysts' estimates in its second quarter, posting a profit of $55 million, or $0.38 per share, on sales of $1.4 billion.

First Call consensus expected the PC maker to report a profit of $0.16 per share in the quarter.



With two straight quarters in the black, is Apple back?


Yes - Jobs' new strategy works like a charm.


No - Too soon to tell how much damage was done.





So-called "whisper" numbers making their way through Wall Street before the earnings announcement suggested Apple would make a mockery of the First Call number.

Louis Mazzucchelli, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison, predicted Apple would make about $0.25 per share.

"We knew they were going to surprise people, but not this much," he said. "It's a break-out quarter."

In the quarter, unit shipments improved 8 percent from the year-ago quarter to 650,000 machines. Most of the growth came from its popular G3 PowerMacs, one of the company's highest-margin products.

"Apple had a great quarter, no question about it," said interim chief executive Steve Jobs in a prepared release. "We are very pleased with the strong demand for our Power Macintosh G3 computers, which accounted for 51 percent of all units sold."

The successful quarter marks the first time Apple has strung together two-consecutive profitable quarters in more than three years. Last quarter, Apple made $47 million, or $0.33 per share, on sales of $1.5 billion.

Apple shares closed up $.0.50 per share to $27.44 prior to the earnings announcement.

"They've streamlined their channel, discontinued losing projects like Newton and are continuing to sell to their installed base," he said. "Steve Jobs, regardless of his title, deserves much of the credit."

Apple's stock has quietly crept back to respectability in the past three months, climbing from a 52-week low of $12.75 per share in December to $28 per share in late March.

Still, Apple must bolster its top line to realize any substantial growth in its stock.

"They're going to announce some new education and consumer machines later this year that sound promising," Mazzucchelli said. "If they can deliver a low-cost PC to compete with the Dells and Compaqs of the world, there might be a real recovery in the next year or so."

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