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Apple reports higher profits, unveils big share buyback

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Apple reported a jump in second-quarter earnings Tuesday and announced a new US$100 billion share buyback plan, although sales of iPhone smartphones narrowly missed expectations.

[NEW YORK] Apple reported a jump in second-quarter earnings Tuesday and announced a new US$100 billion share buyback plan, although sales of iPhone smartphones narrowly missed expectations.

Apple reported a 25.3 per cent rise in earnings to US$13.8 billion following 15.6 per cent increase in revenues to US$61.1 billion. The company exceeded analyst expectations in per-share earnings and revenues, lifting shares in after-hours trading.

But iPhone sales for the quarter ending March 31 came in at 52.2 million, a bit below consensus estimates of 53 million.

The company, flush with a huge cash pile on strong earnings enhanced by the US tax cut plan of 2017, announced US$100 billion in new share buybacks plus a 16 per cent boost to its quarterly dividend.

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That came on top of US$22.8 billion in buybacks executed in the prior quarter, "a record amount for any issue in any quarter," analyst Howard Silverblatt said.

Apple scored revenue increases in all operating regions compared with the year-ago period, China and Japan scoring the biggest gains in percentage terms.

"We're thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearable," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said. "We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20 per cent growth in Greater China and Japan."

Heading into the quarter, some analysts had expressed worry about lackluster demand for Apple's latest version of the iPhone, the iPhone X.

But the company's third-quarter outlook of US$51.5 billion to US$53.5 billion compares favourably to analyst forecasts for the period.

Shares rose 3.2 per cent to US$174.49 in after-hours trading.

AFP