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Apple reports disappointing third-quarter earnings, shares plunge

Apple, already facing low expectations for its third-quarter earnings, reported disappointing results that caused shares to plunge in after-hours trading.

The technology giant said profit rose 21% to $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per share, on revenue of $35 billion, up 22% from a year earlier. The results were less than what analysts had expected. Shares plummeted in after-hours trading, falling $34, or nearly 6%, to $566.78.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated that Apple would post earnings per share of $10.36 on revenue of $37.2 billion. A year earlier, the Cupertino, Calif., technology behemoth reported record quarterly revenue of $28.6 billion and record profit of $7.3 billion, or $7.79 a share. That was a 121% increase over its third-quarter 2010 earnings per share.

The company sold 26 million iPhones in the quarter, up 28% from a year earlier, and 17 million iPads, up 84%. Sales of iPods, at 6.8 million, fell 10%. Mac sales totaled 4 million, a 2% rise.

Apple reported its earnings after the markets closed. During regular trading, shares fell $2.91, or less than 1%, to $600.92.

Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a statement that the company was "thrilled" with its record sales of iPads in the June quarter.

Apple's board has declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the company's common stock, payable Aug. 16.

The company will hold a conference call with analysts at 2 p.m. Pacific time.

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