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We're Bigger Than Exxon Mobil: Apple Blows Out...Again

It might be par for the course with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), but investors certainly still enjoy seeing the maker of iPhones and iPads crush Wall Street estimates come earnings time. And that's exactly what Apple did after the bell Tuesday when it posted a fiscal first-quarter EPS of $13.87 on sales of $46.3 billion. Analysts were expecting $10.08 a share on revenue of $38.85 billion.

Better yet, Apple said it sold 37 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs during the quarter. Before the earnings report, analysts were saying numbers above 31 million iPhones and 13.5 million iPads sold would please investors.

Those numbers have shares of Apple up more than 7% in the after-hours session trading around $451. Assuming Apple opens at $451 on Wednesday and Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) opens flat or lower, Apple will again hold the crown as the largest U.S. company by market value. Based on Apple's 929.4 million shares outstanding (according to Yahoo Finance) at a price of $451, that's a market cap just north of $419 billion, or almost $2 billion more than Exxon's market value at the close Tuesday.

What's even more impressive about the iPhone and iPad sales figures for the fiscal first quarter is that those numbers are more than double what Apple reported in the year-earlier quarter. The $46.3 billion in overall revenue for the quarter is the quarterly revenue number for any tech company ever.

"We're thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "Apple's momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline."

The company forecast EPS for the current quarter of $8.50 on sales of $32.5 billion.

“We are very happy to have generated over $17.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO, in the statement.

Following the earnings report, analysts speculated that the release of another iPhone in 2012 coupled with Apple's further expansion into more international markets could fuel more gains for investors.

The iPhone 4S was initially criticized for offering little improvement on the older iPhone 4, with none of the bold outward design changes that make it easy for cellphone users to brag about owning the latest Apple gizmo. However, the product has a better camera, faster microprocessor and a virtual assistant called Siri that lets people dictate texts and do Web searches with voice commands, according to the New York Times.

A market cap of roughly $420 billion would mean Apple alone is larger than the economies of Norway, Austria, Argentina and Thailand. Or put another way, Apple is more than 30% bigger than Greece's economy.

Posted-In: Earnings Long Ideas News Guidance Short Ideas Management After-Hours Center Markets Best of Benzinga

 

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