Apple is Ratcheting Higher: Is it Stock Split Time?

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Today's another big day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) "Computers" (it’s going to take me a while to stop using the old name) as the company reports results for the fiscal first quarter ended December 31.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, expects the company to report results in-line to slightly above the consensus of $6.4 billion in revenue and profits of 78 cents a share. Apple had previously glided from $6 billion to $6.2 billion and 70-73 cents, but the Street seems convinced that those numbers are out of date.

Wu expects the company to report shipments of 1.8 million Macs in the quarter and 15.5 million iPods.

One interesting factor is that expectations for Apple keep ratcheting higher: according to Thomson Financial data on Yahoo Finance, the average estimate for Apple for the September 2007 fiscal year now stands at $2.80 a share, up from $2.65 just 90 days earlier; over the same time span, expectations for fiscal 2008 have jumped to $3.51 a share from $3.12. Call it the iPhone effect.

Clearly, the market seems more focused on earnings and the potential for the iPhone than it is on the company’s stock option backdating problems. Apple shares are up.

By the way, with the stock getting so close to triple digits, you have to wonder whether there might be a stock split coming. The last time Apple’s shares started pushing close to $100, in early 2005, the company split the stock two-for-one.

AAPL 2-yr chart
AAPL 2-yr chart