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Friday, January 09, 2004, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Analysts expect profit on sales of nearly $2 billion

Following an announcement that the company sold 730,000 iPod digital music players between October and December, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimate Apple will F94A%2D4099%2D4D9D%2DBF18%2D858555C50638%7D">earn 14 cents a share on sales of $1.92 billion when it posts first-quarter results on Wednesday, according to CBS MarketWatch. "Apple gained even more attention ahead of its earnings report when it announced on Thursday a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to build iPods that will carry the H-P brand name."