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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Apple beats tech gloom
An Apple iMac
Global computer sales will fall this year for the first time
Apple Computer has delivered a mixed picture in its latest quarterly earnings, with profits up on the previous quarter, but sharply down on year-ago figures.

The computer maker, which has been through hard times in recent years, reported fiscal fourth-quarter operating earnings of $65m, just over one-third of what it earned in the same quarter of last year.

But the figure represented a quarter-on-quarter rise, and cheered analysts by meeting the firm's stated targets.

The news came on a rough day for technology stocks, after Texas Instruments and handheld computer maker Handspring posted quarterly losses.

The overall personal computer has been struggling with the economic slowdown.

Research firm IDC has lowered its annual forecasts several times this year and predicts computer shipments to fall by 1.6% this year, the first annual decline ever.

Apple stands out

Apple is rare among tech firms in not having posted a profits warning in recent months.

Its shares have risen by more than one-fifth so far this year, putting it in a select group of technology stocks that have risen.

Its shares gave back some of those gains in the hours before its results announcement, shedding 6% in trading on the Nasdaq market.

The falls were driven by a drop in the overall market, and bearish sentiment on technology stocks after a string of weak results.

Tech woe

Handspring, the number-two US handheld computer maker, said its fiscal first-quarter losses widened to $32m, worse than the market expected.

The firm's revenues plummeted, hit by mounting competition and the slumping demand that has affected the entire handheld industry.

And Texas Instruments reported a smaller-than-anticipated third-quarter loss of $57m, but warned that its fourth-quarter sales would fall about 10% quarter on quarter.

In the same quarter of last year, Texas made a profit of almost $600m.

Compounding the gloom after the markets closed, chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) posted its first loss in at least five quarters.

AMD announced a loss of $187m, compared with net income of $409m a year earlier.

Its quarterly revenues plunged by 37% to $766m.

See also:

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