Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to report its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets close on Tuesday. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $1.65 in earnings per share (EPS) and $46.89 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, Apple posted EPS of $1.96 and $51.5 billion in revenue.
Ahead of the report, analysts were expecting the company to report iPhone sales of 45 million for the quarter and 211 million for the year. While quarterly sales have slipped in recent quarters, a drop in full-year sales would be a first for Apple since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.
Apple sold 231 million units in 2015, up 37% year over year, as demand for the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus boomed. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus began shipping to consumers in late September and won’t have much impact on fourth-quarter sales. Demand for the latest versions of the iPhone have been very robust, according to both T-Mobile and Sprint.
Apple sold 48 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of last year. Beating that number would be an incredible feat but highly unlikely. Last year’s year-over-year fourth fiscal quarter increase was a massive 23%.
To reach 50 million in the 2016 fourth quarter would mean a sales increase of 4.2%, and while some analysts are looking for a total of more than 45 million units, none that we’ve seen is forecasting 50 million.
Prior to the release of the earnings report, a few analysts weighed in on Apple:
- Brean reiterated a Buy rating.
- Piper Jaffray reiterated an Overweight rating with a $151 price target.
- Drexel Hamilton reiterated a Buy rating with a $185 price target.
- Goldman Sachs reiterated a Buy rating with a $124 price target.
- Cowen has an Outperform rating with a $135 price target.
- Macquarie has a Buy rating with a $132 price target.
- Nomura reiterated a Buy rating with a $135 price target.
- Deutsche Bank has a Hold rating with a $108 price target.
- RBC Capital Markets reiterated an Outperform rating with a $125 price target.
- Stifel has a Buy rating with a $130 price target.
- JPMorgan has an Overweight rating.
- Morgan Stanley has an Overweight rating with a $124 price target.
- Credit Suisse reiterated an Outperform rating with a $150 price target.
So far in 2016, Apple has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up about 12%. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up only 2%.
Shares of Apple were trading at $117.46 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $128.81 and a 52-week trading range of $89.47 to $123.82.