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Apple Earnings Preview: Another Home Run?

Stocks in this article: AAPL MSFT NOK RIMM T GOOG AMZN

AAPL Chart AAPL data by YCharts

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The countdown begins. On July 24, virtually all of Wall Street will zero in on Apple's (AAPL) earnings after the closing bell.

Apple is expected to report another fantastic quarter for shareholders. The consensus estimate for the third-quarter earnings is currently $10.37 a share, an improvement of $2.58 (24.9%) from $7.79 during the same period last year.

Last quarter, Apple crushed the estimates with $12.30 a share, a surprise beat of $2.27 each -- 22% above Wall Street's estimates. (Read my latest bullish Apple article: Apple, Builders to Have Opposite Impacts in Second Half )

Analysts are in love with this company. Apple is sporting 39 buy or strong buys from a total of 40 analysts covering the company, only 1 hold. No analysts recommend selling. 36 out of 39 analysts rate Apple a strong buy; an increase from 34 analysts a month ago.

Shares have appreciated 69.1% from last year, and the average analyst target price is $747.94. Its 52-week range: $353.21 to $636.23; book value: $109.63; price-to-book: 5.5.

The trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio is 14.8, the mean fiscal-year price-to-earnings ratio is 12.89, based on earnings of $46.93 per share this year. It's as if everyone is waiting for the "big miss" that never comes.

For a company that produces products people love, investors have not demonstrated much of a risk appetite for Apple. Perhaps it's a function of the high share price (that is what I believe), but the most important takeaway is, Apple was a buy on every major dip in the last few years.

The company had rising year-over-year revenue of $65.23 billion last fiscal year compared to $42.91 billion in the previous year. The bottom line showed rising year-over-year earnings of $14.01 billion last fiscal year compared to $8.24 billion in the previous year.

Apple's previous earnings release was on April 24, and the closing price before was $560.28. Apple's share price has increased more than 8.3%. In the last month alone, shares have climbed 5.37%.

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