• All Eyes on Apple Earnings Today

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    Last week Intel, Google and IBM put up modest to strong numbers as quarterly earnings were announced. Today is Apple's turn. And even though Apple's stock has already doubled so far this year, with Steve Jobs back in charge and the current slate of Macs, iPhones and iPods continuing to outperform sales expectations, I look for Apple to post strong quarterly earnings today.

    According to a report this morning from RTT News, both the financial and tech industries are ready for a rock 'em, sock 'em number that will show Apple's strength and help light a fire under the company as it likely prepares to roll out new products or product upgrades in the weeks and months ahead.

    Apple is also reportedly planning to offer a tablet-sized computer in time for Christmas shopping. The computer can be connected to the Internet like Apple's iPod Touch and its screen may be up to 10 inches diagonally. Book publishers have reportedly been in discussions with Apple about offering their services on the new device, which could compete with Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle.
    What probably won't get much discussion today (especially if Apple really outperforms expectations) is how much better the company's earnings would have been if demand didn't overwhelmingly outpace supply the way it has for much of 2009. The global appetite for all things Apple is indeed strong. Recall, if you would, that Apple's third-quarter net income was $1.23 billion, compared to $1.07 billion only one year ago during the same quarter.

    JMP Securities last month upgraded Apple's shares to "Market Outperform" from "Market Perform" with a price target of $200.
    The rumor mongers of the World Wide Web are suggesting that Apple will try to build on what is likely to be a strong earnings report for the company today by quickly announcing the existence of the mythical tablet or a new reader to compete with Kindle.

    Apple's future is so much tied to Steve Jobs' health that any speculation about his health has sent jitters among investors. Considered the 'idea man' behind Apple's innovative products, Jobs was recently found to be the most admired person in a survey conducted among 1,000 American kids aged 12 to 17.
    To put Apple's recent market rampage into perspective, think of this. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has exploded since market lows in March. Apple's growth, however, has outpaced the Dow by nearly 9 to 1.

    Apple will formally announce its quarterly earnings today after the markets close, later Monday afternoon.
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