AAPL pops ahead of one-two punch

Shares rise sharply in advance of next week’s earnings report and special event

With strong earnings expected to be announced Monday Jan. 25 and a new product scheduled to be unveiled two days later, Apple (AAPL) shares climbed steeply Tuesday morning.

The release of several positive reports on Mac sales for the quarter than ended Dec. 26 probably didn’t hurt, either.

The stock closed at $215.04, up 9.11 points (4.42%) for the day, easily outpacing the Dow (up 1.09%). Volume was heavier than usual, thanks in part to the 2.4 million shares that changed hands at 1:44 p.m.

Tune in here for our coverage of Apple’s earnings call, which begins Monday at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m PT) and for the unveiling Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) of Apple’s “latest creation,” widely expected to be Steve Jobs’ long-awaited tablet computer.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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