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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Apple Q4 Earnings Increase Fourfold

SAN JOSE, California -- Apple Computer said its fourth-quarter income more than quadrupled on torrid sales of iPod players and strong computer shipments for the school market, but company shares plunged more than 10 percent as revenue fell short of expectations.

For the quarter ended Sept. 24, the California-based company earned $430 million, or 50 cents a share, up from the previous year's fourth-quarter earnings of $106 million, or 13 cents a share.

Excluding a special tax benefit of 12 cents per share, Apple said it would have earned 38 cents a share.

On that basis, the results exceeded the per-share estimate among Wall Street analysts by a penny, according to research firm Thomson Financial.

Revenue rose to $3.68 billion -- up from $2.35 billion in the year-ago quarter but short of the $3.73 billion in sales analysts were expecting.

In the fourth quarter, nearly 6.5 million iPods were sold, bringing cumulative sales of the portable player to about 28 million units, said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer.

The iPod accounted for nearly a third of the quarter's revenue; Macintosh computers, Apple's historical core product, accounted for about 44 percent with 1.2 million units sold.

But analysts were expecting more for the iPod -- mainly anywhere from 7.5 million to 8.5 million units sold, said Shaw Wu, analyst with American Technology Research. Riding high on the success of its market-leading and ever-evolving line of iPods, Apple's share price nearly tripled from its 52-week low of $18.83 on Dec. 12, 2004 to close up $1.22 to at $51.59 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

After the income report was released Tuesday, Apple shares fell 10.5 percent, or $5.41, in late-session trading. "When you're such a class act, it's hard to keep it going," said Wu.

"I think investors got a little too excited, the stock got too high, and the stock is just trying to correct itself now."

For the year, Apple said it earned $1.335 billion on revenue of $13.93 billion.

"We had nearly $14 billion in revenue -- the best in our history," Oppenheimer said.

For the first quarter, he said Apple expects to reach sales of $4.7 billion, up $1.2 billion, or about 34 percent from the year-ago quarter.