Analyst’s supplier checks suggest Apple sales gaining steam

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In a new research note to clients, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White noted that December was a record month for his “Apple Barometer”: an index of sales at Apple’s Asian supply partners. White notes the 9.4 percent increase in supplier sales overall marks the first time the index has posted a month-to-month gain in December.

Generally, the suppliers listed in White’s index experience an average decline of 15 percent month-over-month in December, he said in the note. That dip seems to anticipate a similar drop in sales among certain products following the holiday shopping cycle; in 2011, for instance, Mac sales went from 4.19 million in its first fiscal quarter, which includes Christmas, to 3.76 million in its second, and iPod sales dropped from 19.45 million to 9.02 million. iPhone sales saw a modest increase, but Apple introduced the Verizon iPhone 4 in February during the second quarter, which could explain the isolated uptick.

Most analysts estimate that the quarterly results to be announced by Apple on Jan. 24 will be record-breaking, based on information like that from supplier Multi-Fineline Electronix, but White’s checks indicate Apple’s sales could be on a roll that will bear impressive results next quarter and beyond, too.

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