Asian stocks and U.S. equity-index futures climbed after Apple (AAPL) Inc.’s quarterly profit more than doubled and before the Federal Open Market Committee releases forecasts for its key interest rate. The yen weakened after Japan posted its first annual trade deficit in 31 years.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent at 2:08 p.m. in Tokyo, the highest level since Oct. 31. Nasdaq-100 Index futures jumped 1 percent after Apple shares soared as much as 12 percent in extended trading. The dollar was 0.3 percent from a three-week low versus the euro and gained 0.2 percent against the yen. Australia’s 10-year yields added nine basis points after an inflation measure watched by the Reserve Bank exceeded economist estimates. Copper climbed to a four-month high.
Apple is among the 53 of 82 Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies that have beaten analyst estimates for quarterly profit since earnings season began on Jan. 9.
Apple Inc’s quarterly results blew past Wall Street’s expectations after U.S. consumers snapped up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads, sending its shares up 8 percent into record territory.
The world’s most valuable technology corporation returned to form after a rare miss in the previous quarter, assuaging investors’ worries that its sheer size meant it was headed into a period of slower growth.
It sold 37.04 million iPhones – its flagship product – and 15.43 million iPad tablets, doubling from a year earlier and easily outpacing already heightened expectations for a strong holiday season. That helped swell its warchest of cash and securities to almost $100 billion – more than enough to plug December’s U.S. budget deficit and level with California’s 2012/13 spending plan.
The company founded by late Silicon Valley titan Steve Jobs – who died in October after a years-long battle with cancer – smashed estimates on all its results including gross margin, which came in at 44.7 percent during the quarter.
Apple reported a net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 a share, handily outstripping an average Street forecast of $10.16 per share. The beat alone – by more than $3 a share, or $3.5 billion – would be a respectable sales figure for many smaller tech companies.
Economics, FedSpeak and Eurozone Follies:
- 5:15 a.m. ET: Germany sells das bunds! In German!
- 10:00 a.m.: Pending home sales index for December. Economists think the index fell 1% after jumping 7.3% in November.
- 12:30 p.m.: The Fed announces its latest monetary policy decision.
- 2:15 p.m.: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a press conference, which economists believe will be like the sound of 1000 angels singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the end of the world. But probably not.
Before the opening bell we get results from:
- United Technologies
- Rockwell Automation
- Abbott Labs
- Motorola Solutions
- Southern Co.
- St. Jude Medical
- W.W. Grainger
At some point we hear from:
- Allegheny Technologies
- General Dynamics
- Murphy Oil
- Occidental Petroleum
After the bell we get results from:
- Stanley Black & Decker
- Jacobs Engineering
- Citrix Systems
- Varian Medical Systems