Apple is set to announce its fourth quarter earnings this afternoon, and analysts expect epic results powered by the runaway success of the company’s new iPhone models.
Indeed, should expectations be met, the biggest company in the world will not only be the largest contributor to earnings growth in the S&P 500 Information Technology sector, it will single-handedly drive basically all the earnings growth in that sector. The rest of the tech sector combined is estimated to have flat earnings growth last quarter.
Apple will be a focus company for the market during the upcoming week, as the company is scheduled to report earnings for the fourth quarter on January 27. The current mean EPS estimate for Q4 2014 is $US2.59, compared to year-ago actual EPS of $US2.07.
Apple is expected to be the largest contributor to earnings growth for the Information Technology sector for Q4 2014. The blended earnings growth rate (combines actual results for companies that have reported and estimated results for companies yet to report) for the Information Technology sector is 3.8%. Excluding Apple, the blended earnings growth rate for the sector falls to 0.1%.
If Apple reports actual EPS equal to or above the mean EPS estimate, this will mark the 2nd consecutive quarter that Apple has been the largest contributor to earnings growth for the Information Technology sector. It will also mark the third time in the past four quarters that Apple has been a positive contributor to earnings growth for the sector. These results mark a sharp contrast to 2013, when Apple was a detractor to earnings growth for the Information Technology sector for all four quarters.
Looking ahead to 2015, Apple is also expected to be the largest contributor to earnings growth for the Information Technology sector. The estimated earnings growth rate for the Information Technology sector for 2015 is 9.9%. If Apple is excluded, the estimated earnings growth rate for the sector would drop to 8.1%.
This is abundantly clear in the following chart from FactSet. The blue bars show overall S&P 500 Information Technology sector earnings growth; the green bars show earnings growth of the sector without Apple included. The Q4 2014 blue bar for the overall sector shows decent growth; the green bar showing growth without Apple is almost invisible: