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Apple's corporate peers in the $10B quarter club all have something in common

After Apple posted its earnings from the quarter gone by last week, the company's stock price went into an absolute freefall, dropping by US$50 in the span of just three days. Today, Apple shares are trading in the low $500 range, representing about a 12 percent drop from a three-month high of $570 reached on December 22, 2013.

Now we could talk for days about how the stock market is illogical and how Wall Street tends to cherry pick, without rhyme or reason, which financial metrics it values most from quarter to quarter. But at the end of the day, trying to extract any trace of logic out of the wild fluctuations that accompany Apple's share price can only lead to madness.

With much of the discussion centering on how Apple's recent quarter failed to impress investors, it's easy to lose track of just how monstrous and impressive Apple's holiday quarter actually was.

To that end, Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune put together this chart which shows that of the top 10 quarterly earnings ever posted by any company, five slots belong to Apple. The other five slots belong to an assortment of oil and gas companies.

Now if you take a closer look at the chart, you'll note that with the exception of Gazprom in 2011, Apple is the only company in the last five years that delivered a quarterly profit above $12 billion. Taking Gazprom -- a Natural Gas company -- out of the equation, we have to go all the way back to ExxonMobil's Q3 in 2008 to see quarterly profits as high as what Apple is raking in today.

What's more, of the top 20 quarterly earnings reports in history, Apple is the only non-oil / gas company to even make the list.

So for all the talk about Apple's share price and pessimism surrounding the company's ability to innovate and enter new product categories, it may be a good idea to take a step back and remember that Apple as a company is healthier and more profitable than it's ever been at any point during the company's nearly 38-year history.

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