01/27/2014 04:55 pm ET

Apple Sells Record Number Of iPhones, Still Disappoints People


(Reuters) - Apple Inc sold a record number of iPhones over the holiday shopping season but failed to meet Wall Street's target, reflecting intense competition from arch-foe Samsung Electronics during the crucial period.

Shares in the world's most valuable technology company fell 5 percent in extended trading.

Apple sold 51 million iPhones in the December quarter, while Wall Street on average had anticipated 55 million or so.

The company forecast sales of $42 billion to $44 billion this quarter, which investors expect to be brisker than usual because of its recently sealed deal to sell iPhones through China Mobile Ltd, the country's No. 1 carrier. Wall Street is expecting $46 billion, on average.

That long-awaited deal is expected by analysts to tack on more than 11 million units of new iPhone sales in fiscal 2014, starting with the typically sedate March quarter.

The company on Monday recorded sales of $57.6 billion in its December or fiscal first quarter, versus expectations for about $57.5 billion. First fiscal quarter earnings were $14.50 a share, compared to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimate of $14.07.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)