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Update: Apple Beats Lowered Estimates

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Updated from 4:50 p.m. ET

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report

finally had revenge, of a sort, reporting after the bell that the company's first-quarter loss was narrower than analysts were expecting.

Apple, which shipped 659,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, also forecast fiscal 2001 revenue of about $6 billion, just slightly below analysts' estimates of $6.01 billion. The company reported revenue of $7.98 billion for fiscal 2000.

Shares of Apple rose to $17.56 in after-hours

Island

activity after ending the regular

Nasdaq

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trading session at $16.81. The shares have been battered during the last year, and remain well off the 52-week high of $75.19.

The Cupertino, Calif., PC maker, which has bombarded Wall Street with bad news during the last few months, lost 61 cents a share for the period, the first time the company has lost money since the fourth quarter of 1997. The 16 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were expecting a loss of 65 cents a share, well below the earnings of 50 cents the company posted in the year-ago period. After an accounting change, the company lost $195 million, or 58 cents.

Those expectations, of course, had been drastically lowered over the past couple of months, thanks to poor consumer demand and aggressive price-cutting by Apple. When the company

told investors in late September that it would miss its fourth-quarter earnings estimates by a country mile, it warned that the first quarter would get hit as well.

Accordingly, analysts, guided by Apple's

fourth-quarter earnings release in mid-October, lowered their first-quarter earnings estimates to 3 cents a share from 59 cents. But that wasn't the end of it. On Dec. 5, Apple

warned again, saying it anticipated a net loss of $225 million to $250 million and cutting its already lowered revenue target to $1 billion from $1.6 billion.

Revenue for the first quarter fell to $1 billion, down sharply from $2.34 billion in the same period last year.