Apple Dragged by Lower Sequential Revenues in China, Japan, Europe (Update)

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reported its fiscal third-quarter earnings. We noted that the guidance would be closely watched regarding how the company expects an iPhone refresh cycle to go. Also, what stood out ahead of the report was how much analysts were increasing their price targets on Apple even before the earnings report.

The consumer electronics giant, and largest company by market cap, reported that earnings per share (EPS) came in at $1.28, versus $1.07 a year ago. Thomson Reuters had the consensus estimate at $1.23 EPS. Revenue was $37.4 billion, but the consensus estimate was $37.99 billion. We would point out that Apple had previously offered up guidance of $36 billion to $38 billion in revenues during the quarter.

Gross margin was 39.4% versus 36.9% a year ago, and Apple had previously guided its gross margin to be in a range of between 37% and 38%. Apple’s international sales accounted for 59% of this last quarter’s revenue, down from 66% of the last sequential quarter’s revenue.

Apple also generated $10.3 billion in cash flow from operations, and it used $8 billion for stock buybacks and dividends. That now takes its capital return plan to $74 billion of the $130 billion in total planned shareholder returns.

If you add up Apple’s cash and short-term and long-term securities, the company had close to $164.5 billion in liquidity.

Revenue fell to $5.935 billion in the greater China segment during the latest quarter, from $9.289 billion just a quarter earlier. Japan fell to $2.564 billion from $3.963 billion in the prior quarter. Retail was lower, as was Europe and the rest of its Asia Pacific region. The revenue from the Americas was the saving grace here, rising to $14.577 billion from $14.310 billion sequentially. When we gave our earnings projection we had expected more of an international contribution while U.S. customers seem to awaiting product refreshes.

ALSO READ: Apple Analysts Kept Raising Ratings and Price Targets

For the next quarterly report, which will be its year-end, Apple sees revenues coming in between $37 billion and $40 billion. Thomson Reuters had estimates of $1.34 EPS and $40.44 billion. The company is also projecting gross margins of 37% to 38%.

Apple unit by unit data was as follows:

  • iPhone: 35.203 million units for $19.751 billion in revenues
  • iPad: 13.276 million units for $5.889 billion in revenues
  • Mac: 4,413 million units for $5.540 billion in revenues
  • iPod: 2.926 million units for $442 million in revenues
  • iTunes (software/services): totaled $4.485 billion in revenues
  • Accessories: totaled $1.325 billion in revenues

UPDATE: There is a disappointment in iPad unit sales, but Tim Cook said he is not worried about this to CNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Apple shares closed up 0.8% at $94.72 on Tuesday, against a split-adjusted 52-week range of $59.82 to $97.10. The consensus analyst price target going into earnings was close to $101. The after-hours reaction on Tuesday had Apple shares down almost 1% at $93.95 on last look.

As a reminder, in our final earnings preview we had projected that options traders looked braced for a move of up to $3.50 in either direction. This was a harder read now that many of the old strike prices have been mixed up after the split.