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Apple splits stock as iPod sales soar

The digital-music player and the new Mac Mini may be small, but they're giving the company's shares a big boost.

Apple Computer announced a two-for-one stock split Friday, giving investors twice as many bites at the computer maker.

Investors who hold Apple shares as of Feb. 18 will receive one additional share of stock for every share of Apple they own. The stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis starting Feb. 28.

Apple's stock, which earlier this month rose to a new 52-week high of $81.99, has been on a tear in the past year, rising fourfold. To attract new investors, companies often split their stock if it reaches a certain level, even though the move does not change the actual ratio of what they are paying for the stock.

Apple's stock has been fueled over the past year by the company's booming iPod sales and by other developments, including its Macworld announcement of a mass-market, low-price PC called the Mac Mini.

Last month, the company's first-quarter results also soared past analysts' expectations. Apple generated net income of $295 million, or 70 cents a share, compared with net income of $63 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts had predicted that the PC maker would earn 49 cents in the quarter, according to Thomson First Call.

As part of its stock split plans, the company will increase its authorized shares of common stock to 1.8 billion from 900 million.