Apple Inc.'s stock hit a rough patch earlier this month, but with the shares springing up nearly 9% on the heels of strong earnings, things seemed to be smoothing out.

Though the stock had been down about 13% since mid-April, the tide turned after Apple's announcement late Tuesday of a quarter during which it sold 35 million iPhones and close to 12 million iPads. A major chunk of the company's revenue for the period came from China, one of Apple's fastest-growing new markets.

Before the earnings announcement Tuesday, Apple shares dropped 2% in regular trading, pulling down the Nasdaq composite index while the Dow Jones industrial average rose. But on Wednesday, Apple's big gains lifted the Nasdaq 1.95% in early trading, to 3,019, surpassing the Dow's lesser, 0.5% gain. Apple was up $49.72, or 8.87%, on the day, closing at $610.

Analysts credited Apple's big quarter to its growth in China, which was robust enough to overshadow the company's weaker performance with U.S. carriers AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, which saw smaller numbers of iPhone activations last quarter than analysts expected.

"There are 230 global carriers, and in our view, this simply means that [Apple] has moved beyond a U.S.-centric story to more of an international one, focused on growth markets like greater China," Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, wrote in a note to investors Wednesday morning.

david.sarno@latimes.com