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Apple Earnings Preview: Another Home Run?

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 - Get Report) 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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