Apple profits up, shares down


Apple profits up, shares down
Apple has enjoyed a 57 per cent increase in profits compared to 12 months ago, according to the technology firm's first-quarter results.

The MacBook maker said it shipped 2,310,000 of its computers during the five weeks to December 29th 2007, and that its year-on-year gross margin was up 3.5 per cent.

Apple sold 2,315,000 new iPhones over the holiday period, the report said, putting earnings up to $1.58 billion (£806 million) from $1 billion a year ago.

"We’re thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive.

Despite the strong figures, Apple's share price followed the Nasdaq's downturn in yesterday's trading, closing 3.54 per cent lower at $155.64 (£77.82), and going as low as $137 in after-hours trading.

The sale of 22.1 million iPods was lower than analysts expectations, which had forecast 22.4 to 25 million of the movie and music players to be sold.

Worries of a US recession and weak consumer confidence have been reflected in lower sales for many retailers during the holiday season.

Some analysts, however, believe that Apple can weather the crisis given strong products such as the iPod and iPhone, and the company remained optimistic for 2008.

"We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks," Mr Jobs said.

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