What to Expect When Apple Reports Earnings After the Close

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to release its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets close on Thursday. This may be one of the most anticipated reports of the season, given that Apple has just released the next generation of iPhone and is closing in on the trillion-dollar market cap.

In the race to the trillion-dollar market cap, Apple is the clear front-runner, at roughly $859 billion. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has added about 50% to the cap, while year to date only about 44%.

In terms of the quarterly results, consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are $1.87 in earnings per share (EPS) and $50.79 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, Apple said it had EPS of $1.50 and $46.85 billion in revenue.

According to AppleInsider, in late October, shipments for the iPhone X were pegged at two to three weeks out. The smartphone is scheduled to launch next Friday, November 3. In less than an hour, that delivery time had been extended to four to five weeks, and in less than two hours the delivery time had been pushed out to five to six weeks.

Problems with supply of key iPhone X components like the OLED display and the 3D camera have been discussed at length. The number of units available by the launch date could be as low as 2 million to 3 million, a far cry from the more than 10 million units Apple sold on the launch of the iPhone 6.

Canaccord Genuity’s Michael Walkley raised his 2917, 2018 and 2019 EPS estimates upward to $9.30, $11.35 and $11.21, respectively. He went on to say:

While we anticipate demand for the iPhone X will be greater than Apple’s ability to meet supply during C2017, we are increasing our C2018 and C2019 estimates due to our increased ASP assumptions for greater mix of the iPhone X. We believe the compelling features of iPhone X including OLED display, improved battery life, wireless charging with the Qi standard, and overall improved functionality will lead to strong iPhone sales consistent with our 247M estimate for C2018.

Here’s what a few other analysts were saying ahead of the earnings report:

  • Maxim Group has a Buy rating with a $193 price target.
  • HSBC Holdings also has a Buy rating with a $193 price target.
  • Piper Jaffray has a Buy rating and a $200 price target.
  • Drexel Hamilton has a Buy rating with a $208 price target.
  • Sanford Bernstein has an Outperform rating with a $175 target price.
  • Mizuho has a Hold rating and a $160 price target.
  • KeyCorp has an Overweight rating with a $187 price target.
  • Pacific Crest has an Overweight rating with a $187 price target as well.

Shares of Apple were last seen at $166.22, with a consensus analyst price target of $175.19 and a 52-week range of $104.08 to $169.65.