Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ahead of the Bell: Apple

NEW YORK - AP

Shares of Apple Inc. inched up in premarket trading Wednesday, mildly rebounding from a selloff fueled by concerns of light iPhone sales.

Some analysts hoped Apple would sell as many as 500,000 iPhones after the gadget's launch late last month. The iPhone's exclusive carrier, AT&T Inc., disclosed in its second-quarter earnings report Tuesday it activated 146,000 subscriptions for the device, which offers Internet access, an MP3 player and a cell phone in a handheld wireless device.

Shortly after that disclosure, shares of Apple, which also makes iPods and Macintosh computers, fell nearly 5 percent to close at $134.89 Tuesday.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's stock crawled up $2.96, or 2.2 percent, to $137.85 in premarket trading Wednesday. The shares in premarket trading were still down 4.7 percent since AT&T's report.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky wrote in a research report the number AT&T reported is only slightly light of expectations. When Apple reports its quarterly results after the closing bell rings Wednesday, Abramsky said, it is still possible iPhone sales could meet expectations.

The 146,000 number may be deceiving for a number of reasons, the analyst said. As many as half of all iPhone buyers had problems activating their subscriptions with AT&T, he said. Also, some people may have bought iPhones for gifts, so they probably will not be activated until the gift is given.

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