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Apple Shares Drop on Slowdown Worries

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple stock took a hit the morning after its first-quarter earnings were released, falling about 10 percent.  Investors are worried that growth is slowing at Apple, the world's most valuable company.

Shares of Apple dropped $52 to $462 at 10 a.m. EST Thursday.  The tech-heavy Nasdaq index, in which Apple trades, was also down 0.27 percent to 3,145.

On Wednesday, after the market closed, the company reported that it sold 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared with 37 million in the same quarter a year ago.  Many investors had hoped that the company would sell 50 million iPhones, which drives Apple's earnings.

"No technology company has ever reported these kinds of results," Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said on the earnings call Wednesday.

Investors eagerly awaited Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., to report its earnings, seeking clarity after a number of rumors about iPhone parts and sales.

Earlier this week, there were reports about the next iPhone being released in June.

"Certainly a new product line is in the works," said Brian Colello, Morningstar senior equity analyst.  "It remains to be seen what Apple will ultimately come out with and when.  Those are certainly factors to keep an eye on."

Last week, a report that Apple had decreased its order for iPhone parts may have contributed to a decrease in its stock price to near $500.

"It will be interesting to see if Apple is really pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and shortening the product cycle," Colello said.

Colello said Apple is facing growing competition from Samsung.  Last summer, when Apple released the iPhone 4S, Samsung also released its Galaxy S 3, which saw strong sales.

On Wednesday, Apple said it sold a "record" 22.9 million iPads in the quarter, compared to 15.4 million a year ago.  The company also sold 4.1 million Mac computers, compared to 5.2 million in the same quarter last year.

On Apple's earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer attributed the Mac slide to the refreshed Mac products not being released until December.  Its new iMac desktops were not sold until early December.

"We believe our Mac sales would have been much higher without those constraints," Oppenheimer said on the call.

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