Apple Profit Jumps But Outlook Disappoints

Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL) quarterly profit blew past the most optimistic Wall Street expectations, powered by strong sales, but its revenue forecast for the current quarter was below the more optimistic expectations and the stock fell.

Profit rose more than sixfold on sales of its iPod (search) digital music players, the Mac Mini (search) personal computer and new PowerBook notebook PCs.

Shares initially rose 1.4 percent in after-hours trade, but then fell as the company's revenue forecast for the current quarter was largely in line with Wall Street expectations rather than exceeding them.

"The third-quarter EPS guidance was better than the Street. but the revenue was slightly below some on the Street," said Sushil Wagle, senior vice president of J&W Seligman, which owns Apple shares.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., said Wednesday that net income for its fiscal second quarter ended March 26 rose to $290 million, or 34 cents per share, from $46 million, or 6 cents per share, on a split-adjusted basis.

Revenue surged 70 percent to $3.24 billion from $1.91 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 24 cents a share, within a range of 21 cents to 30 cents, on revenue of $3.19 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the current third quarter, Apple forecast a profit of about 28 cents a share on revenue of $3.25 billion.

Analysts currently expect an average profit of 24 cents, within a range of 20 cents to 32 cents, on revenue of $3.21 billion.

The company shipped 5.31 million iPods and 1.07 million Macintosh computers during the quarter.

Shares of Apple fell $1.62, or 3.8 percent, to close at $41.04 in regular trading on Nasdaq. In after-hours trade on the Inet electronic brokerage, the stock rose to $41.52 and then dipped to $40.20. Apple shares have risen more than 30 percent so far this year, after tripling in 2004.