Apple crushes earnings amid Steve Jobs health concerns

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Technology juggernaut Apple reported blowout earnings results Tuesday, but the news was overshadowed by the company’s disclosure Monday that CEO Steve Jobs, who has battled pancreatic cancer, has taken medical leave.

The iconic Cupertino, California–based company said it earned $6.43 per share last quarter on revenue of $26.7 billion, a 71 percent increase over last year. Wall Street had been looking for quarterly earnings-per-share of $5.38 on revenue of $24.4 billion.

“This is a monster quarter,” analyst Vijay Rakesh of Sterne Agee told CNBC. After-hours trading of Apple shares was halted briefly as the numbers were released. When the stock resumed trading, buyers drove the price up more than 4 percent to reach a new record high. Apple recently became the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world, behind Exxon.

Apple said it shipped 16.2 million iPhones and 7.3 million iPads in the last three months, cruising past Wall Street expectations of 15.5 million iPhones and 6.2 million iPads. The iPad, less than a year old, generated $4.4 billion in revenue for Apple during that time.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” Jobs said in a statement. “We are firing on all cylinders, and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year, including iPhone 4 on Verizon, which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Full story: Apple Crushes Earnings Amid Steve Jobs Health Concerns | Epicenter |