Apple slides 4% on disappointing 4th quarter iPhone sales and lack of forward guidance

  • Apple shares fell as much as 4% in early Friday trading after the tech giant’s fiscal fourth-quarter figures failed to meet analysts’ expectations.
  • The company beat estimates for overall revenue and profit, but iPhone sales landed below hopes.
  • Apple’s updated phone lineup was released roughly one month later than usual, ensuring that sales of the new models will first materialise in its current-quarter report.
  • The company stopped short of providing forward guidance for the third consecutive quarter. While finance chief Luca Maestri praised new phone sales as “off to a great start,” the lack of official guidance rankled investors.
  • Watch Apple trade live here.

Apple sank as much as 4% in early Friday trading after the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter report fell just short of analyst expectations.

The tech giant beat estimates for quarterly revenue and profit, bolstered by robust growth in its wearables and services segments. Mac sales climbed to a record high amid continued work-from-home activity. iPad sales also surprised to the upside.

Still, iPhone revenue missed the mark. Apple’s new 5G-capable lineup hit shelves roughly one month later than usual, ensuring that iPhone 12 sales will first show up in its next quarterly report.

Here are the key numbers:

Revenue: $US64.7 billion, versus the $US63.5 billion estimate from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg

Earnings per share: 73 cents, versus the 70 cents estimate

iPhone revenue: $US26.4 billion, versus the $US27.1 billion estimate

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Executives’ commentary on current-quarter sales also left investors wanting. Apple stopped short of providing official forward guidance, instead offering vague hints at iPhone strength through the end of the year. Luca Maestri, the company’s chief financial officer, said iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro sales are “off to a great start.” Apple CEO Tim Cook said sales have been “tremendously positive” despite the COVID-19 crisis’ lasting impact.

Apple added that it expects phone revenue to grow in the December quarter should the coronavirus’ economic impact stay the same. The lack of forward guidance marks the third-straight quarter Apple has refrained from providing official forecasts due to the pandemic.

Apple closed at $US115.32 per share on Thursday, up about 58% year-to-date. The company has 77 “buy” ratings, 20 “hold” ratings, and three “sell” ratings from analysts.

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