Are Apple Earnings Suggesting a Fundamental Change?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported fiscal second-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Tuesday. The company had $1.90 in earnings per share (EPS) on $50.6 billion in revenue versus Thomson Reuters consensus estimates that called for $2.00 in EPS on $51.97 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $2.33 in EPS on $58.01 billion in revenue.

In this quarter, gross margin totaled 39.4% versus 40.8% in the same period from last year. At the same time, international sales accounted for 67% of this quarter’s revenue.

During this quarter, Apple’s board of directors announced that it has authorized an increase of $50 billion to the company’s program to return capital to shareholders. Under this newly expanded program, Apple plans to spend a cumulative total of $250 billion of its cash by the end of March 2018.

Apple also upped its dividend by 10% to $0.57 per share, which will be payable on May 12, to shareholders of record as of May 9.

For its business segments Apple reported:

  • iPhones totaled $32.86 billion in revenue on 51.19 million units.
  • iPads totaled $4.41 billion in revenue on 10.25 million units.
  • Macs totaled $5.11 billion in revenue on 4.03 million units.
  • Services netted revenues of $5.99 billion.
  • Other products (including the Apple Watch) netted revenues of $2.19 billion.

In terms of guidance for the fiscal third-quarter, the company expects to have revenues in the range of $41 billion to $43 billion, with gross margin in the range of 37.5% to 38%. There are consensus estimates for the fiscal third quarter that are calling for $1.76 in EPS on $47.32 billion in revenue.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, commented:

Our team executed extremely well in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds. We are very happy with the continued strong growth in revenue from Services, thanks to the incredible strength of the Apple ecosystem and our growing base of over one billion active devices.

The company generated strong operating cash flow of $11.6 billion. On the books, cash, equivalents, and short-term marketable securities totaled $55.3 billion at the end of the quarter compared to $41.6 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Shares of Apple closed Tuesday at $104.35, with a consensus analyst price target of $133.87 and a 52-week trading range of $92.00 to $134.54. Following the release of the earnings report the stock was initially down 6% at $97.92 in the after-hours trading session.