Apple’s stock soared to an all-time high last night as the company reported its most profitable quarter ever. Its fiscal 2009 fourth quarter – ending September 26, 2009 – saw Apple post revenue of US$9.87 billion (a 25 percent year-on-year increase) and net profit of US$1.67 billion (a huge 47 percent yearly increase). It sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter, representing seven percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. For the full fiscal year, Apple grew revenue by 12 percent (to US$36.5 billion) and net income by 18 percent (to US$5.7 billion). The results far exceeded analyst expectations and sent the company’s shares up more than 7.5 percent to above US$204 in extended after-hours trading. Its previous high was US$202.96 in December 2007.

For fiscal first quarter 2010, Apple expects revenue in the range of about US$11.3 billion to US$11.6 billion and diluted earnings per share of about US$1.70 to US$1.78. Apple follows Google in shrugging off the recession with record results. Indeed, the figures demonstrate continued strong demand for Apple’s products in spite of the lack of any major products being launched in the period, and amid suggestions that its exceptional growth rate was slowing down. Chief executive Steve Jobs said he was “thrilled” by the results.