Will Apple Earnings Miss or Beat Expections?

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Updated 1:15 p.m. EST: Twitter Speculation on Apple Earnings

Updated 12:55 p.m. EST: If Apple has a bad earnings reception, the stock is trading above key technical levels. Its 50-day moving average is $492.48 and 200-day moving average is $451.86 according to stockcharts.com technical levels on chart.

Updated 12:00 p.m. EST: Apple shares are trading around $526 and this translates to only flat performance for 2013 year to date. Where this changes handily is that gains from earlier lows in 2013. April 17, 2013 was the first day of the sub-$400 price and it closed at $397.53 adjusting for dividends. Apple shares are up 32% from that point now. Apple shares are up almost 37% from the 52-week low.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is set to report earnings on Monday after the closing bell. This is the largest company by market capitalization again, and now the interest is back since the new iPhone and iPad launch. Other technology giants also have been doing well with earnings.

One thing to consider here is that this is an expected earnings drop, down to $7.93 in earnings per share (EPS) from $8.67 a year ago. Revenue is expected to be $36.84 billion, which would represent 2.4% sales growth from a year ago.

Apple’s stock price has recovered to $525. Investors should note that this is the highest point since January of 2013.

The company showed last quarter that its gross margin was 36.9%, versus 42.8% a year ago, and also that international sales represented 57% of all sales. Apple gave guidance for this quarter of 36% to 37% margins on sales of $34 billion to $37 billion.

Apple’s cash and cash equivalents came to $146 billion at the end of the most recent quarter. Carl Icahn wants an unbelievable $150 billion buyback conducted now, a move that Tim Cook may address to somewhat accommodate the activist investor’s ambitions but in a more tempered way.