Apple Inc's profits and sales streaked past Wall Street's forecasts as iPhone and Mac sales hit quarterly records, sending its shares rocketing to all-time highs on Monday.
Sales of Apple's Mac computers jumped 17 percent from a year earlier to 3.05 million in the September quarter, above analysts' average forecast of roughly 2.8 million.
Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones, up from 6.9 million a year ago, and just shy of expectations of 7.5 million units. Some analysts had thought the company was having a tough time making enough iPhones to meet demand.
These are huge numbers tonight. Apple is probably the best growth story in tech, maybe one of the best growth stocks in the market. I bet this stock can go to $250 in six to nine months, said Jane Snorek, analyst at First American Funds.
Usually Christmas and back-to-school are correlated and Apple usually has a gigantic Christmas quarter. This makes me think Apple will have a great Christmas.
Apple's stock jumped 7.5 percent to above $204 in extended trading. It had closed at $189.86 on Nasdaq. The stock's record intraday high was $202.96 on December 27, 2007.
The company posted a net profit of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 26, up from $1.14 billion, or $1.26 a share, in the year-ago period.
Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.42 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Market expectations had appeared even higher in the run-up to the earnings release. The so-called whisper number was near $1.60, said William Lefkowitz, options strategist at vFinance Investments.
Revenue rose 25 percent to $9.87 billion, ahead of the average Wall Street estimate of $9.2 billion.
Cupertino, California-based posted a gross margin of 36.6 percent, up from 34.7 percent a year ago. Wall Street had been expecting a margin of 35.5 percent.
Apple's guidance is typically conservative. It forecast earnings for the current quarter of $1.70 to $1.78 a share on revenue of $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion.
Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.91 a share on revenue of $11.4 billion.
Despite a high price point, Macs have been gaining share for years and are expected to continue to do so. According to industry tracker IDC, Apple holds 9.4 percent of the PC market in the United States.
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Richard Chang)