Wall Street expects strong results from Apple; analysts more focused on next quarter’s guidance

“When Apple Inc. reports quarterly results Tuesday, investors will be looking for new clues about the health of consumer spending,” Yukari Iwatani Kane reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Apple has seemed relatively unaffected by the slowdown so far, which hit business spending on technology first. The company mainly hawks its Macintosh personal computers, iPods and iPhones to consumers, and demand is believed to have held up for most of the quarter that ended in September,” Kane reports. “But consumer confidence has been shaken as the financial crisis has worsened, and the effects could show up in Apple’s projections for the current quarter, ending in December.”

“For its fiscal fourth quarter, ended in September, Apple’s results may reflect a boost from the introduction in July of a new iPhone that connects to the Internet at faster speeds,” Kane reports. “And sales of Macintosh computers — the company’s biggest contributor to revenue — likely benefited from back-to-school purchases… But Wall Street will be watching closely for any sign of deterioration in the Cupertino, Calif., company’s fourth-quarter financials, as well as what the company says about the fiscal first quarter.”

Kane reports, “Analysts on average expect Apple to post profit for the fourth quarter of $1.11 a share, up from $1.01 in the year-earlier period, with revenue rising nearly 30% to $8.05 billion. For the current quarter, they predict earnings to decline to $1.66 a share from $1.76 a year earlier, with sales increasing 10% to $10.6 billion.”

Full article (subscription required) here.

MacDailyNews Note: Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, has provided guidance of “about $7.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.00.”


  1. This is a very sad thing because Apple’s conservative guidance will lead them to presume the economy is faltering more than it is. What are the chances that they can subtract out apple’s conservativeness. I hope that Apple suprises everyone and offers straight up guidance since the world is looking for signs of life to prevent us from slipping into recession, or at least to limit the depth of the upcoming recession.

  2. It’s just so funny. Every single quarter, Apple destroys the street, gives “conservative” guidance in which it claims it will double this or triple that — then when they do even better the stock price falls.

    It’s not like Apple ever says it’s going to have a flat quarter. They always predict jumps in revenue and growth. Yet it’s always called “conservative” simply because the results of the previous quarter are always so good.

    I’ve never seen a stock punished so often for such consistently poor reasons . Also, in reading reviews for the new Macbooks I’ve seen several writers say it wasn’t a big deal because Apple didn’t revolutionize anything. Jesus, you know Apple is a helluva company when everyone looks for it to totally re-invent everything every single product release!

  3. This guidance business keeps getting repeated but it really doesn’t make any difference. Good guidance won’t miraculously change fundamentals about AAPL (the stock). Neither does conservative one suddenly make Apple a bad company and AAPL a poorly-performing stock. Guidance only matters on the day of the earnings report and perhaps a few days after that.

    If you look at the charts for 2006, 2007, and even 2008, you’ll see that AAPL’s major drops didn’t happen directly in relation to the guidance; overlay AAPL with major indices and yo’ll understand that those large drops often followed the rest of the market. Rarely did it fall on its own (due to low guidance).

    When the market is healthy, AAPL grows faster than anyone. When it isn’t, AAPL represents too much risk for most conservative investors to stay in, so AAPL falls faster than others. Even if low guidance pushes it down, it recovers quickly and continues its growth.

    This time around, I wouldn’t be surprised that, other than some major gyrations on Tuesday evening, AAPL doesn’t gain much in value. The economy is so sensitive and markets so volatile, it seems that AAPL is doomed to wade around $90s and low $100s for some time, until something major happens somewhere in the world that begins to kick global economy into gear. Until that event, all bets are off.

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