Why did Apple pop in after-hours trading Wednesday… by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine July 19, 2012, 8:24 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons AAPL jumped right after the markets closed FORTUNE — It’s not terribly surprising that Apple’s AAPL shares rose $8.23 (1.36%) in Thursday trading. An hour before the markets opened, Verizon VZ reported that it activated 2.7 million iPhones last quarter, down from the previous quarter but somewhat better than analysts expected. The results helped alleviate Morgan Stanley’s concerns about Apple’s third-quarter iPhone sales, Katy Huberty told her clients. They made Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster “incrementally more comfortable” with his own iPhone estimates. Fair enough. What’s harder to explain is why Apple’s shares rose sharply right after the markets closed on Wednesday, more than 16 hours before Verizon’s results were released. Just one of the mysteries of the stock market, I guess.