Apple Earnings Shine

With the help of its iMac computers and more cost-cutting moves, Apple Computer on Wednesday posted fourth-quarter earnings that far surpassed analysts' estimates. But sales remained where they were a year ago.

The parent of Macintosh computers said it earned $106 million, or 68 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by First Call expected a profit of 49 cents a share. In the year-ago period, Apple lost $161 million, or $1.26 a share.

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APPLE COMPUTER (APPL)
Apple also reported its first profitable full year since 1995, earning $309 million, or $2.10 a share. Analysts estimated the company would earn $1.71 a share. In 1997, Apple lost $1 billion, or $8.29 a share.

Analysts were expecting a blowout quarter from the computer maker stemming from the hype surrounding its iMac computer, fueling a three-day stock rally. Following the report, Apple shares jumped 1 1/8 to 40 1/8.

While the company's press release didn't talk specifically about the iMac, Apple reported fourth-quarter revenue was flat: $1.6 billion for the quarter vs. $1.6 billion in the year-ago quarter. Fiscal-year revenue was $5.9 billion, vs. 1997 revenue of $7.1 billion.

Written By Tiare Rath