After the market closed on Monday, Apple announced fourth-quarter profits that were simply stunning. Net quarterly profits were up more than 46 percent to $1.67 billion, on revenue of $9.87 billion. Apple sold 3.05 million Macs (the most ever in a quarter) along with 7.4 million iPhones (up 7% from the year-ago quarter) and 10.2 million iPods. iPod sales were actually down 8 percent over the past year, but this was expected as people move from buying iPods to buying iPhones.

Numerous analysts and commentators joked that someone forgot to tell Apple about the recession.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

It’s interesting to note that Apple would have had even greater sales ($12.25 billion revenue and $2.85 billion of net income) if subscription-based accounting for the iPhone and Apple TV was eliminated. Subscription-based accounting is used to parcel out income from iPhone and Apple TV sales over a 24-month period from the date of sale.

One chokehold on growth is that demand for the iPhone 3GS currently exceeds supply. “Apple can’t build enough phones to meet demand,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Analysts are quite bullish on AAPL stock, recommending investors buy in anticipation of a potentially strong holiday quarter. Gene Munster has maintained his overweight rating for AAPL stock and raised his price target to $277.


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