Apple climbed $5.23 on heavy volume of 49.4 million shares, after reporting a fourth-quarter net profit of $106 million, or 26 cents a share, on revenue of $2.35 billion. Excluding one-time charges, Apple topped the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call by eight cents.
Much of the surge in the companyis stock on Thursday was due to Appleis outlook for the current holiday quarter, as Apple expects to post a first-quarter profit of between 39 cents and 42 cents a share on revenue between $2.8 billion and $2.9 billion. Before managementis update, Wall Street analysts have been estimating Apple would earn 28 cents a share on revenue of $2.52 billion.
Much of Appleis forward looking statement hinges upon the continuing success of its iPod and iPod mini portable digital music players. The company said Wednesday it has shipped more than two million iPods in the third quarter as opposed to 336,000 units during the same quarter a year ago. Hewlett-Packardis version of the iPod accounted for 6% of total iPod sales.
Analysts appear to also be positive about Apple because of the so-called "halo effect" of customers buying iPods, online music via the iTunes Music Store and also buying Macintosh computers, although the company has not provided any exacting figures proving the phenomenon is actually occurring at great numbers.
Late Friday, analysts at Fulcrum Global Partners reiterated their "buy" rating on Apple. Fulcrum raised their target price from $43 to $53.