Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple to reveal its stats!!!

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc should affirm next week that its six-month-old iPad tablet computer is selling well despite a shaky consumer market, while the iPhone continues to fend off a strong challenge from rival Google Inc. Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings to showcase Apple's powerful one-two punch of the iPhone and the iPad, although some still question whether, with a plethora of rival products set to hit store shelves, Wall Street can justify Apple's stratospheric valuation.

The shares of the second largest corporation in the S&P 500 jumped more than 4 percent on Friday as anticipation mounted ahead of Monday's report. As has been the case for many quarters, iPhone growth will be the main driver, even as anticipation builds over an iPhone early next year tailor-made for the network of top mobile carrier Verizon Wireless Inc -- a move that would instantly boost Apple's consumer reach in the United States.

Apple's shares stand at a record high after breaking through the $300 mark for the first time this week. The company has so far proved resilient in the face of weak U.S. consumer spending. At the same time, gross margins should get a boost from falling component costs. Although there is little doubt September quarter numbers will be strong, investors have come to demand an out-sized performance, so the bar is raised every three months.

Analysts say a big upside surprise may be tougher to achieve this time around given constraints in iPad and iPhone supply. But the iPad is playing a bigger role in Apple's business and could be a wild card this quarter, and Wall Street is eager to gauge consumer enthusiasm for the tablet. While demand has been strong, manufacturing bottlenecks have limited production.

Apple trades at nearly 21 times forward earnings, a healthy premium over smartphone and PC rivals.
A SECOND LEG Investors are looking at the iPad as the second pillar of growth along with the iPhone, which has keyed Apple's surge over the past few years, but is facing stiff competition from smartphones based on Google's Android software.

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