Apple (AAPL) Moving From Strength to Strength, Beats Again

Apple (AAPL) shares gained as much as 10% to $265.15 in Wednesday trading, the most intraday since May 10, after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, known for record-breaking sales of its iPad tablet computer and its new iPhone, reported 2010 third- quarter results that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

The company proved once again that it is a monster as it reported its most successful financial quarter by bringing in $15.7 billion in total revenue, up from $8.337 billion, or 62%,  last year and earning $3.51 a share, up from $1.35 a share a year ago. Wall Street analysts who follow Apple estimated the company would report a profit of $3.11 a share on sales of $14.75 billion.

Sales of most Apple products also rose significantly:

–  The company sold 3.47 million Macs during the quarter, up 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.

– It sold 8.4 million iPhones, up 61 percent.

– It sold sold 9.41 million iPods, representing an 8 percent unit decline.

– The company began selling iPads during the quarter, with total sales of 3.27 million.

“It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple’s history with iPhone 4,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in the earnings press release. “iPad is off to a terrific start, more people are buying Macs than ever before, and we have amazing new products still to come this year.”

Apple also said it it expects to report a profit on the current quarter of about $3.44 a share on sales of about $18 billion.

AAPL shares were up $7.00, or 2.70%, to $258.60 at 12:58pm ET on Wednesday. Apple shares have traded between $149.75 and $279.01 over the last 52 weeks.

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