Apple is grinding higher ahead of earnings

Justin Sullivan/Getty
  • Apple is set to report its third-quarter earnings after the closing bell Tuesday.
  • Analyst expect the company to post earnings of $US2.16 a share on revenue of $US53.31 billion.
  • Shares opened up roughly 0.4% Tuesday ahead of the earnings report.
  • Follow Apple’s stock price in real-time here.

Shares of Apple are rising, up about 0.4% in early trading Tuesday, ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the closing bell.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the tech giant to post earnings of $US2.16 per share on revenue of $US53.31 billion. But at least one analyst warns this quarter will take a back seat to more important upcoming quarters.

“This quarter takes a back seat to the “main event” which is all about the FY19 underlying iPhone demand picture and ramping services business which remains a key incremental growth driver for Cook & Co. for the coming years,” Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH insights, said in a note to clients. He has a $US200 price target for Apple.

“We believe 350 million iPhones are in the “window of opportunity” to upgrade over the next 12 to 18 months with Apple needing to capture a majority of these units as part of this upgrade cycle to make a clearly successful iPhone product cycle in 2019 and lay the groundwork for future services/software growth and steady iPhone demand over the coming years.”

Ives expects three new iPhones to be released in the next three to six months, which should “capture the underlying demand/upgrades among customers that have decided to bypass the 8/8+/X cycle this past time around, with price points and features that catalyze fence sitting iPhone customers onto their next smartphone.”

Apple Services – one of the company’s fastest-growing revenue streams from things like the App Stores and Apple Music – could fuel growth in the third quarter without headline-making iPhone releases.

“We believe Apple’s strong software capabilities, expanding services business and unique digital ecosystem at large are increasingly being appreciated by the market,” analyst Brian White of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., said ahead of the report.

“Despite this improved sentiment, we believe Apple remains one of the most underappreciated stocks in the world with a valuation that remains depressed.”

Apple is the last tech giant in the so-called FAANG basket of mega-cap stocks to report earnings this quarter. So far, its peers have largely disappointed the market, with Netflix and Facebook sinking after earnings reports that missed Wall Street expectations.

Shares of Apple are up 10.6% this year.

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