US Report: Analysts predict $21m profit for Apple

Apple is expected to announce a second-quarter profit of $21m (£12.5m) this week, according to Wall Street analysts.

A consensus estimate compiled by First Call, an American research firm, predicted Apple will post a profit of about $21.23m, or 16 cents for each of company's 132.7 million shares, when it releases its second-quarter results in the US at 2pm this afternoon (10pm GMT).

First Call said only one of the 22 analysts polled had predicted a loss. The estimated results for the quarter, ended March 27, ranged from a loss of 7 cents per share to a profit of 32 cents per share, First Call said.

Apple lost $708m (£421.4m), in the same quarter a year ago. The loss included one-time charges of $375m (£223.2m) for the acquisition of NeXT Software and $155m (£92.3m) in restructuring costs.

First Call said analysts are recommending investors remain neutral on Apple stock, with a consensus recommendation of 2.6 on a scale in which 1 is a strong buy and 5 a strong sell.

Apple's stock has been rising steadily since the company announced a first-quarter profit of $47m (£28m) in January. First Call said analysts expected Apple to remain profitable throughout 1998 and 1999. For the 1998 fiscal year, which ends in September, Apple is expected to post a profit of $1.12 per share, according to a consensus of 22 analysts.

Apple was unable to comment because of a federally mandated "quiet period" preceding announcement of financial results.

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