AAPL Rallies Ahead of Earnings, up 5.7%

Shares in Apple Inc. traded higher in late afternoon trading on Wednesday, ahead of the company's earnings report and conference call to be held at 5:00 PM EST, after the markets close. As of this writing, the stock was trading at US$82.68 per share, up $4.48 (+5.73%).

Apple's rally was part of a broader tech rally lead by IBM's December earnings report in which the company reported a 12% jump in earnings during its 4th quarter, and forecast earnings for 2009 that were ahead of Wall Street expectations. That news cheered investors previously beaten down by doom and gloom economic news over the last few months.

Apple's own consensus numbers from FactSet Research are currently riding at earnings of $1.29 a share on $10.16 billion in sales for the December quarter, its first fiscal quarter, according to Marketwatch. The EPS estimates are in line with earlier consensus estimates, while the revenue number is slightly higher than previously expected, and moderately higher than Apple's own guidance.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.