On the day of Apple’s earnings call, analysts expecting company to announce return to growth

Apple’s report of its financial results today will be a key one for the company: it will either announce a return to growth after three straight quarters of falling sales, or it will report a full 12 months of decline. We’ve so far seen mixed expectations from analysts, but the latest on-the-day consensus is for a comfortable level of growth …

The revenue number Apple needs to beat to achieve year-on-year growth is $75.9B. Apple’s own guidance calls for $76-78B – the bottom end of which would only just qualify – but analysts surveyed by Business Insider have a consensus expectation of a comfortable $77.4B, while those tallied by former Fortune writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt edge slightly higher at $77.62.

Apple does have a slight edge for its fiscal Q1 2017 (calendar Q4 2016) results: because the company’s quarters end on the last Saturday of each, this quarter has 14 weeks rather than the usual 13.

What’s less clear is whether the number of iPhones sold will also increase year-on-year. Last year, Apple sold 74.8M iPhones in the holiday quarter, but analyst revenue expectations factor in significantly more service revenue this time around. It would be entirely possible for Apple to achieve revenue growth despite falling iPhone sales. Analysts seem confident, though, suggesting sales of 77.17M.

Regardless of Q1 numbers, analysts are almost universally bullish on the company’s prospects in 2017, RBC noting five reasons for optimism.

  1. iPhone 8 super cycle and 600 million+ install base;
  2. Continued growth in high-margin Services;
  3. New MacBook Pro product should revert Mac segment to growth;
  4. Potential upside from Trump-onomics (taxes, cash repatriation);
  5. Attractive valuation (~9x EV/FCF).

We’ll of course be bringing you all the numbers later today, with live reporting from the earnings call which will follow.

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