Earnings Smackown

Apple reports earnings today. Five numbers to watch

July 19, 2011: 7:48 AM ET

A big Q3 is a given. Just look at what the stock has done lately. But the devil is in the details

The Street has fallen back in love with Apple (AAPL). "Get ready for the return of the wow factor," J.P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz told clients last week just before the stock put the finishing touches on a 28-day, $58.48 (18.5%) run that took it to $373.80 Monday afternoon, an all-time record close.

The impetus for this recent infatuation, of course, is the earnings report due out this afternoon. Revised estimates from analysts have been piling in so quickly that the aggregators can hardly keep up. As of Tuesday morning Thomson Reuters still had the consensus calling for earnings of $5.80 on sales of $24.92 billion. Recent estimates, however, have been much higher. Moskowitz expects Apple to report earnings of $6.58 on sales of $27.42 billion, up 87% and 75%, respectively. Some of the independent analysts we've been tracking are even more bullish. See here.

Although Apple almost always beats the consensus, nothing is certain. It could still surprise Wall Street -- positively or negatively -- in the details of its report.

Here are the numbers we'll be watching.

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