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Apple's blowout quarter propels Nasdaq to big gain
Apple's blowout quarter propels Nasdaq to a strong day; other averages also higher
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Apple's stock shot up more than $50 a share Wednesday after its quarterly profit blew away Wall Street expectations. The surge propelled the Nasdaq composite index to what would easily be its biggest gain of the year.

Apple climbed more than 10 percent in early trading, enough to make back most of what it lost during a two-week slump before the earnings announcement late Tuesday.

The company turned a profit of $11.6 billion from January through March, or $12.30 per share. That is almost double what it made in the same quarter a year earlier and far above the $10.07 that Wall Street was expecting.

Apple sold 35 million iPhones during the first quarter. One possible reason for the two-week slump was an analyst's suggestion that Apple could not keep up the momentum in its iPhone sales.

Stock in Apple, the most valuable public company in the world, hit $644 in intraday trading on April 10. It slid as low as $579 a share a week later. On Wednesday, it was up $54 to $614.53.

The gain in Apple stock helped power the Nasdaq to a gain of 67 points, to 3,029, just after 10 a.m. EDT. Apple makes up 12 percent of the Nasdaq, by far the biggest component.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which does not include Apple, was up 84 points at 13,085. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index, which does include Apple, was up 16 points to 1,387.

European markets also rose. Benchmark stock indexes were up 2.5 percent in Madrid and Paris, 2 percent in Frankfurt and 0.4 percent in London.

Apple may not be an economic bellwether, but it is "an important confidence indicator for the market as a whole, so these figures will help sentiment today," said Gary Jenkins, managing director at Swordfish Research in London.

In the United States, Apple helped technology stocks in the S&P to a 3 percent gain as a group, easily the best-performing industry in the market. Materials stocks and consumer discretionary companies were also having a strong day.

The dollar and U.S. Treasury prices fell as investors moved money out of safe assets.

Among other stocks making moves:

' Boeing rose 4.3 percent, the best performer among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow. Its first-quarter profit soared 58 percent. Airlines around the world are updating their fleets with more fuel-efficient planes.

' US Airways climbed 1.9 percent. It raised fares to offset higher fuel prices and beat expectations for earnings. US Airways has won the support of unions at American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy protection, for a merger.

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