Qualcomm Beats Earnings but Stumbles Over Guidance

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Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) released its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report after the markets closed on Wednesday. The company had $0.91 in earnings per share (EPS) on $5.5 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that call for $0.86 in EPS on revenue of $5.21 billion. The same period from the previous year had EPS of $1.26 and $6.69 billion in revenue.

In the report, Qualcomm noted that beginning with this release, it will no longer provide annual revenue and EPS guidance. However it will continue to provide quarterly guidance for certain financial and operational metrics, along with commentary on its earnings call on the drivers of longer-term performance, including its view of industry trends and growth prospects.

As for the quarterly guidance for the fiscal first quarter, Qualcomm expects EPS in the range of $0.80 to $0.90 and revenue in the range of $5.2 billion to $6.0 billion. There are consensus estimates that call for $1.08 in EPS on $5.79 billion in revenue.

Since September 27, the company repurchased and retired 24.6 million shares of common stock for $1.4 billion. On October 9, it announced a cash dividend of $0.48 per share which will be payable on December 18, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on December 1.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, commented on earnings:

Our fiscal fourth quarter revenues and EPS were at the high end of our expectations, with stronger-than expected MSM chipset shipments offsetting slower than expected progress concluding new license agreements in China. We executed a major increase in our capital return program in fiscal 2015, returning a record $14 billion of capital to stockholders. We are encouraged by customer reaction to our flagship Snapdragon 820, are on track to deliver on our fiscal 2016 cost reduction targets and expect to exit fiscal 2016 on an improving financial trajectory.

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Operating cash flow in the quarter totaled $1.7 billion, up 4% from last year, but down 20% sequentially. Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $30.9 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, compared to $32.0 billion a year ago.

Shares of Qualcomm closed Wednesday down 1% at $60.26, with a consensus analyst price target of $70.27 and a 52-week trading range of $52.17 to $77.47. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were down 2.8% at $58.60 in the after-hours trading session.