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Tuesday, April 11, 2006, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Apple to report 2nd best quarter in company history?

After a round of checks with its industry and channel sources, analysts for American Technology Research said they believe Apple later this month will post the second best quarterly results in the company's 30-year history, exceeding its own guidance of $4.3 billion in revenue and 38 cents in earnings per share.

"Specifically, we are modeling $4.4 billion, 43 cents and 8.8 million iPods versus consensus of $4.6 billion and 44 cents," analyst Shaw Wu told clients in a research note issued on Tuesday. "For the June quarter, we continue to believe Apple will guide conservatively reflecting efforts to reduce inventory of PowerPC Macs and older iPod nanos."

The analyst is modeling for the June (current) quarter $4.4 billion, 44 cents and 8.5 million iPods versus the Street's consensus of $4.7 billion and 48 cents. "We believe consensus revenue estimates remain unrealistically high and believe Apple will likely make another attempt to reset expectations," Wu wrote. "Given the recent 16 percent run-up in Apple shares, we would not be surprised to see a pullback post-print."

Nevertheless, the analyst said he'd remain a buyer on weakness and believes the company is well-positioned to deliver upside with strong second half seasonality and product momentum, including new low-cost Intel portables and changes in its iPod line-up.

American Technology Research maintains a "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a price target of $101.00.