Apple Computer earlier this week cited strong sales of iMac computers in reporting first-quarter earnings of $US152 million, or 95 cents per share, on revenue of $US1.7 billion.
Analysts polled by First Call expected Apple to report earnings per share of 70 cents for the quarter which ended December 26.
For the first quarter a year ago, Apple reported earnings of $US47 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $US1.57 billion, 8 per cent less than the same quarter this year. Meanwhile, gross margins were 28.2 per cent, up from 22.4 per cent on the prior year, according to a company statement.
The first quarter of fiscal year 1999 included a $US29 million after-tax gain from the sale of 2.9 million shares of ARM Holdings. Without this non-recurring item, the company's net income would have been $US123 million, or 78 cents per share.
Apple sold 519,000 iMac computers during the quarter, driving overall unit growth to 49 per cent year-over-year. Ending inventory dropped to $US25 million, which represents two days of inventory, and unit growth year-over-year was three to four times higher than the industry average, the statement said.
International sales accounted for 47 per cent of the quarter's revenues.
"Growing earnings combined with world-class asset management resulted in positive cash flow from operations of $US223 million," said Fred Anderson, Apple's chief financial officer.