Apple is selling iPhones as fast as the company can make them and is loaded with cash as a result and investors are applauding. The company's stock was on the move Wednesday, up $12.40 (3.20 percent) to $389.29, after Apple blew away analyst expectations with its fiscal third quarter earnings report Tuesday after the market closed.
At times during the trading day Wednesday Apple's stock flirted with passing the $400 price point for the first time ever, but profit-takers helped pull it back below the company's all-time high during the trading day.
Sill, Apple's shares have been on a roll in July, matching the company's performance. Analysts were expected a big quarter from Apple, saying strong iPhone and iPad sales were taking off, but even they were surprised by the strong performance.
The company is expected to roll out an updated iPhone by this fall, which could further boost Apple. One analyst said that momentum will send Apple past Exxon to gain the largest market cap.
We expect Apple will become the largest market cap company on the planet when the stock hits approximately $445 which is only about 13 percent away from aftermarket levels, said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall, adding that this is based on the assumption that Exxon shares remain flat.
Among Apple's fiscal third quarter earnings highlights:
--The results were Apple's best-ever quarter, reporting earnings of $7.79 per share on revenue totalling $28.57 billion with a net profit of $7.31 billion.
--Apple sold 20 percent more iPhones in the quarter (20.34 million) than most analysts expected.
--The company's earnings per share results beat forecasts by 30 percent, and Apple's revenue beat forecasts by 15 percent.
--Apple's cash-on-hand increased in the third quarter with the robust sales and high profits by 16 percent, to $76.2 billion. The strong cash position, tabulating at about $80 per share, makes Apple one of the richest companies for investment and balance sheet strength in the world.
--Apple's iPad went on sale just more than a year ago but in the company's fiscal third quarter Apple sold 9.25 million iPads, strengthening the company's position as the tablet leader.
--Apple increased its marketshare dominance in smartphones with its strong iPhone sales performance. The company has now sold more than 120 million iPhones after launching the product in 2007.
--Apple's stock is trading near its all-time high but even still, the stock's price-to-earnings ratio after the strong third quarter report is only at roughly 15.
--Apple announced plans to partner with China Mobile to extend the company's reach of the iPhone in that country, further exciting investors.