Don’t Expect Much From Apple’s Q3
Wall Street will get a chance to take Apple’s financial pulse once again this afternoon when the company reports earnings for its fiscal third quarter. And given Cupertino’s tempered guidance when it last reported financials, analysts aren’t expecting all that much.
Consensus estimates call for earnings per share of $7.34 on revenue of $35.18 billion. That’s on the high end of Apple’s guidance for the period: Revenue of between $33.5 billion to $35.5 billion. But on an EPS basis it’s down significantly from the $9.32 company reported for the same quarter a year ago.
Given those tepid numbers, a lot of the focus this afternoon will likely fall on shipments of Apple’s flagship products, the iPhone and the iPad. Wall Street consensus is that the company shipped about 26.5 million iPhones this quarter, with some analysts suggesting numbers far in excess of that. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, for example, said last week that her supply-chain checks indicated iPhone shipments for the period of somewhere between 29 million and 32 million units. For the iPad, the Street expects shipments of about 18 million. That’s down from the 19.5 million shipped in the previous quarter, but far more than Apple was selling this time last year.
And beyond that? Probably not much. As keen as investors are on hearing something more about Apple’s future product calendar, the company’s leadership is unlikely to oblige them. Expect little in the way of insight into the “amazing new hardware, software and services” that CEO Tim Cook said is coming this fall, though as Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray predicts, that’s exactly what might lift Apple out of the doldrums.
“We believe that the trends in the business are uninspiring, but that the trends will reverse as Apple introduces new products,” Munster said in a note to investors this week. “We continue to believe new products (iPhone 5S, cheaper phone, television, iPhone 6 larger screen, watch) over the next six quarters will move shares higher.”