Apple exceeds Wall St. expectations in tough economy, reports strong iPhone and Mac sales

Apple released its earnings for the third fiscal quarter earlier this afternoon, and like clockwork, it once again exceeded analyst expectations by a significant margin. Apple's quarterly profits were up 15%, with revenue coming in at $8.34 billion, net profits coming in at $1.23 billion, and EPS coming in at $1.35 per diluted share.

Apple released its earnings for the third fiscal quarter earlier this afternoon, and like clockwork, it once again exceeded analyst expectations by a significant margin.  Apple's quarterly profits were up 15%, with revenue coming in at $8.34 billion, net profits coming in at $1.23 billion, and EPS coming in at $1.35 per diluted share.  The consensus on Wall Street had Apple reporting earnings of $1.16 per diluted share on revenue of $8.16 billion.

Relying on the strength of particularly robust Mac and iPhone sales, which respectively came in at 2.6 and 5.2 million units sold, the quarter gone by represented Apple's strongest non-holiday quarter in its history. 

Apple is notorious for providing extremely low earnings guidance, a fact which analysts are by now accustomed to and take into consideration when coming up with their own earnings estimates.  That said, the fact that Apple was able to blow past analyst expectations, in an extremely tough economy no less, show just how resilient Apple is.  From an investors point of view, if Apple is this successful during a recession, the potential for earnings growth in a healthy economy seems particularly promising.

With respect to earnings guidance for the upcoming quarter, Apple CFO Petter Oppenheimer stated:

"Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $8.7 billion to $8.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $1.18 to $1.23.”

If history has proven anything, you can bet that Apple will exceed those figures with ease.

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