Despite Apple announcing Q4 earnings which lined-up almost perfectly with analyst expectations, the company’s shares price fell 3.26% in after-hours trading. After closing at $118.25 before the announcement, they were trading at $114.40 at the time of writing.
Although the company did report its first full-year decline in revenue since 2001, this had been predicted. Comparing the pre-announcement analyst consensus with the actual results, it’s remarkable just how close they were …
- Revenue: analyst consensus $47B, actual $46.9B (-$0.1B)
- iPhone sales: analyst consensus 45M, actual 45.5M (+0.5M)
- iPad sales: analyst consensus 8.5-9M, actual 9.2M (+0.2M on top-end view)
- Mac sales: analyst consensus 5M, actual 4.8M (-0.2M)
Apple is also predicting that it will return to growth next quarter, with guidance of $76-78B against the $75.9B for the same quarter last year. It may be that with a full quarter of iPhone 7/Plus sales and brand new Macs, the market was hoping for even stronger guidance.
However, it should be noted that after-hours trading involves much smaller volumes than normal trading, so it’s not uncommon to get spikes which smooth out when the market re-opens.
A sampling of analyst responses from Business Insider shows a general lack of surprise with the results, Citi’s note a pretty illustrative example.
Apple reported September quarter results with sales slightly below consensus and EPS one penny above street expectations. December quarter guidance brackets consensus […] Apple’s gross margin outlook of 38%-38.5% is slightly below consensus at 38.8% which we believe is due to higher component costs (memory prices have increased).
Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo rate the stock a hold, while the other five firms surveyed all rate it a buy.