“Lower-than-expected holiday iPhone sales and a weak revenue forecast by Apple Inc renewed fears about Chinese demand and a tepid global market, wiping 8 percent off company stock,” Bill Rigby reports for Reuters. “The world’s most valuable technology company sold a record 51 million iPhones in the quarter, but that was still shy of the 55 million or so that analysts had expected. The company forecast sales of $42 billion to $44 billion this quarter, brisker than usual because of Apple’s new deal to sell iPhones through China Mobile Ltd, the country’s No. 1 carrier. But Wall Street had expected even more – $46 billion, on average.”
“The company on Monday recorded sales of $57.6 billion in its December or fiscal first quarter, versus expectations for about $57.5 billion. Net profit was flat from a year earlier at $13.1 billion, or $14.50 a share, compared to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimate of $14.07,” Rigby reports. “It was the iPhone sales and revenue outlook shortfall that drew attention… Apple sold a record 26 million iPads globally in the quarter, in line with Wall Street estimates. Oppenheimer told Reuters the company more than doubled sales of the tablet in mainland China during the December quarter, helping drive that milestone.”
“Longer term, investors continue to hope that Apple, which last came out with a revolutionary new device – the iPad – in 2010, has something up its sleeve for 2014,” Rigby reports. “Speculation currently revolves around a smartwatch or even a long-rumored TV product. Others say Apple can use its huge iPhone and iTunes base to get into mobile payments or advertising.”
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