Here comes the relief rally.
Apple Inc's (AAPL - Get Report) surprisingly strong second quarter earnings have boosted stocks in its European supply chain Wednesday, while its German-listed units surged, as investors rushed to return to chipmakers linked to the world's biggest tech company.
Apple posted a stronger-than-expected bottom line of $2.73 a share for the three months ending in March, the company's second quarter, and said revenues hit $61.1 billion thanks to the sales of 52.2 million iPhone units. The Cupertino, Calif.-based group also issued a robust third quarter outlook, forecasting sales of between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion, suggesting still-solid demand for its smartphone suite despite persistent concerns that global demand is waning.
"I don't buy the view that market's saturated," Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors on a conference call following the company's earnings last night. "I don't see that from a market point of view or - and certainly not from an iPhone point of view."
"I think the smartphone market is sort of like the best market for a consumer product company in the history of the world," he added. "That's how I feel about it. It's a terrific market, and we're very happy to be a part of it."
Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple shares were marked 4,52% higher in pre-market trading in New York, indicating an opening bell price of $176.74 each, the highest since April 19, and a move that would take its year-to-date gain to 4%.
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Stocks in the company's European supply chain were also on the move, with Austria's AMS AG (AMSSY) , which earns an estimated 35% of its revenues from chipsales to Apple, surging 6% to Sfr87.00 each in Zurich, were the shares are listed.
Other European companies in Apple's supply chain were also under soaring, with German-listed Dialog Semiconductor Plc (DLGNF) up 9.84% and STMicroelectronics (STM - Get Report) marked 4.72% to the upside. Infineon Technologies AG (IFNNY) , Europe's biggest chipmaker, topped gainers on the DAX performance index with a 3.55% gain.
"iPhone's second quarter performance capped a tremendous fiscal first half with $100 billion in iPhone revenue, an increase of $12 billion over last year, setting a new first half record and achieving our highest first half growth rate in three years," Cook said. "iPhone gained share during the quarter based on IDC's latest estimates for the global smartphone market."
Some analysts, however, have cautioned that market reaction to Apple's solid, but by no means spectacular, quarter has been flattered by the company's decision to boost its share buyback program by $100 billion and lift its dividend by 16% to 73 cents a share.
"While Apple's return of capital to shareholders via an increased share-repurchase program and the dividend increase is robust, Apple still remains an iPhone story," wrote Edward Jones analyst Madan Gopal following the results. "iPhone sales account for the majority of the company's sales and earnings, and, in our view, we believe that investors' expectations for iPhone shipments and average selling prices are too high."