Has Apple Growth Hit the Pause Button?

Print Email

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported fourth fiscal quarter and full-year 2015 results after markets closed on Tuesday. For the quarter, the technology giant posted quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.96 on revenues of $51.5 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.42 on revenues of $42.12 billion. Fourth-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.88 and $51.12 billion in revenues.

For the fiscal year Apple posted diluted EPS of $9.22 on revenues of $233.72 billion. Analysts were looking for EPS of $9.13 on revenues of $233.29 billion.

Gross margin in the quarter totaled 39.9%, up from 38% in the year-ago quarter, and international sales accounted for 62% of all sales.

CEO Tim Cook said:

Fiscal 2015 was Apple’s most successful year ever, with revenue growing 28% to nearly $234 billion. This continued success is the result of our commitment to making the best, most innovative products on earth, and it’s a testament to the tremendous execution by our teams.

For the first quarter of 2016 Apple said it expects to post revenues in a range of $75.5 to $77.5 billion with a gross margin of between 39% and 40%. Operating expenses are pegged between $6.3 and $6.4 billion while other income is tabbed at $400 million.

Revenues rose 8% sequentially in the Americas, but fell 5% in China. Year over year Revenues rose 10% in the Americas and 99% in China. Overall, revenues in 2015 rose 22% over the prior year.

iPhone revenues rose 3% sequentially in the fourth quarter and 36% year over year. Sequentially unit sales rose just 1% in the fourth quarter.

iPad sales were down 6% in revenues and 10% in units. For the year iPad sales were down 20% in both units and revenues.

Mac revenues rose 19% sequentially on unit sale the increased by 14%. For the year Mac revenues rose 4% and unit sales rose 3%.

Sales of “other products,” including Apple Watch, Beats products, Apple TV, and accessories totaled $3.05 billion up 15% sequentially and 61% year-over-year. Services revenues rose 1% sequentially and 10% year-over-year to $5.09 billion.

The company had another very solid quarter, but one has to wonder about the product that will fire Apple’s next growth spurt. Without that signal of innovation, the company is in danger of not only losing its cachet, but its very tidy hardware margins.

Apple shares closed at $114.55 on Tuesday, down about 0.6% for the day, and traded at around $116.10, up about 1.4%, in the after-hours session. The stock’s 52-week range is $92.00 to $134.54. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $148.63 before today’s report.