Apple set to announce profits

Apple Computer will announce its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday April 17.

The company has predicted revenues of US$1.5 billion during the quarter, which saw the new iMac begin shipping - though delays plagued its worldwide rollout. It isn't known how much these delays will impact on Apple's results, nor is it clear to what extent worldwide increases in component prices will affect Apple's bottom line across its product-range.

Analyst firm JP Morgan Chase & Co. recently trimmed its expectations for the company, saying iMac profits may have "come close to evaporating" due to the component price-rises. The firm cut its estimated revenues to $1.35 billion, but maintained its "market perform" rating and $25 per-share price-target on Apple's stock.

Rating raised

UBS Warburg LLC, another analyst firm, also expects Apple not to meet its expectations for the quarter - but raised its rating on Apple's stock to a "Strong Buy" rather than "Hold." UBS Warburg analyst Don Young said that the expectation of Apple missing its target will be "overshadowed by its second-half earnings outlook".

Young cites Apple's uniqueness as a computer company that doesn't compete against Dell. He also praises the company's capacity to invest in research and development, and its ability to "capture pervasive computing opportunities". The analyst raised his price target on the company to $30.50 from $23.

Apple's shares closed at $25.06 Friday, remaining stable on the after-hours market.

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