Apple crushes Street targets, dispels iPhone fears

Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:18am EDT
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By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's quarterly profit almost doubled after a jump in iPhone sales, particularly for the greater China region, blowing past Wall Street expectations and soothing fears the device was past its best days for sharp growth.

Shares in Apple, the world's most valuable technology company, shot up 8 percent in after-hours trade, after falling as much as 13 percent from a record high of $644 in the past two weeks.

The results prompted a slew of analysts to raise their target price for Apple.

Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones - which account for about half its revenue - in the quarter, outpacing around 30 million expected by Wall Street analysts. Pent-up demand for the iPhone 4S helped lift revenue for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong five-fold.

"The room to grow in China is still very large, especially because Apple hasn't started working with China Mobile. Once they start cooperation, it'll keep the growth momentum going even in Q2 when global iPhone 4S sales are expected to drop," said Mike Fang, a fund manager at Paradigm Asset Management based in Taipei.

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator by subscribers, is the only Chinese carrier that does not have a contract with Apple to sell iPhones.

"Right now, Apple stores are only open in first-tier cities in China, so there's still a lot of room to expand."

Net income rose to $11.6 billion, or $12.30 a share, from $6 billion, or $6.40 per share, a year earlier, outpacing a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus estimate of $10.04 a share.   Continued...

The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011.REUTERS/Yuri Gripas