NEWS

Apple stock's jump lifts markets

04/25/2012 01:05 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

The initial 10 per cent leap in Apple Inc.’s shares today following its forecast-shattering earnings report is driving a large gain on the Nasdaq, while other markets were up more modestly.

Apple stock opened up $55.71 US, for a gain in market cap of $51.9 billion US. The increase alone in the company’s value is about 7½ times the entire value of BlackBerry maker and Apple competitor Research in Motion, or 73 per cent more than the market capitalization of CIBC.

By early afternoon, the company's shares retreated slightly to $607.24, for an advance of $46.96.

The Nasdaq composite index was up 57 points as a result, or 1.9 per cent, at mid-morning. Apple is the largest single component by far of the index, comprising 11.6 per cent of its weighting.

Other markets were posting more modest gains. The S&P/TSX index inched up 33.5 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 12,013.62, while the Dow Jones industrial average crept forward 53.4 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 13,055.

"Apple gave a very good result and that boosted confidence," said Lee Kok Joo, head of research at Phillip Securities in Singapore. "But we are still looking for the U.S. GDP estimate on Friday and just waiting to see the direction of the U.S. economy."

European markets were higher with London's FTSE 100 index up 0.2 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX up 1.7 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 rising two per cent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose one per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.30 of a cent to $1.0158 US.

Fed statement has little impact

The U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the American economy is growing moderately while cautioning that risks from Europe remain.

In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed said that the U.S. job market has improved slightly but that unemployment remains elevated. It said the housing market has improved somewhat but remains depressed. It also pointed to a pickup in inflation but said it should be only temporary.

The Fed stuck with its plan to keep a key short-term interest rate near zero through at least late 2014. It also announced no new plans for further bond buying after a current program ends in June. Those decisions had been widely expected and had little impact on financial markets.

"There is little sentiment for additional stimulus at the current time, " analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong wrote in an email ahead of the Fed's statement.

Investors had been watching the statement to see whether they needed to revise their expectations of how long U.S. borrowing costs will remain at their super-low level.

iPhone sales double

Apple's second-quarter earnings, released Tuesday after markets closed, blew past analysts' expectations. The computer and mobile-device maker posted profits of $11.6 billion US, or $12.30 a share, up from $6 billion for the same period last year. Revenue climbed 59 per cent to $39.2 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research had expected the company to earn $10.07 per share on sales of $37 billion.

The company also said it sold 35 million iPhones in the three-month period, or nearly double the total in the same timeframe last year.

Traders didn't wait until Wednesday's market opening to pile into Apple stock. The firm's shares shares were up nearly $40 to near $600 in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

In Canadian earnings, Encana Corp. reported net earnings of $12 million for the first quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $361 million in the same period last year. Company shares were up 30 cents to $17.95 on the TSX. Nexen also reported earnings.

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