Apple’s iPad sales push it to best revenue quarter ever

Apple Inc. blew past expectations with its latest quarterly report on Tuesday, selling almost as many of its new iPad tablets as it sold Mac computers.

Apple also gave higher revenue guidance than Wall Street was expecting, something the company rarely does. Investors sent shares up in after-hours trading.

Apple said net income rose 78 percent to $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per share, from $1.8 billion, or $2.01 per share a year ago.

Revenue for the April-to-June period rose 61 percent from last year to $15.7 billion, making it the company’s highest quarterly revenue ever.

That’s better than Wall Street predicted. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast net income of $3.11 per share on $14.7 billion in revenue.

Apple sold 8.4 million iPhones, up 61 percent from last year, though it stopped shipping more of the previous-generation iPhones after the updated model, the iPhone 4, was announced in early June. Apple sold 1.7 million of the newest iPhone 4 during the last three days of the quarter.

Apple also said it sold about 3.3 million iPads in the gadget’s first three months on the market.


BP to sell various assets to help pay for Gulf oil spill

BP PLC said Tuesday it will sell assets in the U.S., Canada and Egypt to Apache Corp. for $7 billion to help pay the costs from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

At least part of the proceeds will go toward a $20 billion fund that BP agreed to last month under pressure from the Obama administration. The fund will help pay cleanup costs and damages from the spill.

As the spill escalated in the weeks after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP realized it would need to boost its cash reserves to pay costs that analysts have said could rise to $100 billion. The company suspended dividend payments of about $10.6 billion for this year, and sped up plans to sell $10 billion in assets.

Apache eventually emerged as a potential buyer.


Stocks a puzzle for investors; earnings reports are mixed

Investors are trying to get a read on the economy using earnings reports. They’re finding it’s not so easy.

The result Tuesday was yet another erratic day of stock trading. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75 points after having fallen 140 in early trading in response to a series of disappointing revenue reports.

Analysts were hard-pressed to come up with a reason for the turnaround. But trading was extremely light, which tends to skew stock prices.

Analysts said some investors were getting more upbeat as they awaited earnings reports from Yahoo Inc. and Apple Inc. after the close.

Those reports, however, came in mixed — just like those from the many companies that have also reported second-quarter results.

Apple’s stock surged in after-hours trading, but Yahoo fell. Like IBM Corp., Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs Inc., its revenue fell short of expectations.

Investors have been focusing on revenue rather than bottom-line earnings because of the link between companies’ sales and the economy. If revenue is down because consumers aren’t spending, that’s a sign that the economy could remain weak.


United, Continental closer to accord with pilots’ unions

United Airlines and Continental Airlines said Tuesday they hammered out transition agreements with their pilots’ unions, a critical step toward reaching a broader labor accord with pilots.

Talks between the merging airlines and pilots were halted late last month due to a dispute between Chicago-based United and its pilots over layoff protections, sources told the Chicago Tribune.

At the time, the four sides were close to hammering out agreements that provide a framework for operations until the merging carriers gain a single FAA operating certificate, a process targeted to be completed during 2012.

Terms of the new agreement weren’t made public.