Place your bets: Apple’s guidance for Q1 2019

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It’s not the earnings for last quarter that matter most to traders, it’s the guidance for this quarter.

 

It’s earnings smackdown time again, with Apple set to report September quarter results tomorrow (Thursday Dec. 1).

I’ll post my final spreadsheet for last quarter tomorrow, but the topic here is this quarter, fiscal Q1, 2019. The so-called guidance Apple gives analysts about what it expects for the December quarter is what will probably determine whether Apple surprises nicely on the upside or takes a Facebook-size hit.

I’ve assembled below the individual estimates of 11 Wall Street professionals (blue), 10 independent analysts (green) and—just to drive the sticklers for consistency crazy—the averages posted on Estimize and Thomson Reuters (purple). Put it all together and you get a midpoint of $94.4 billion for revenue and $5.04 for EPS.

That represents roughly 6.9% revenue growth and nearly 30% growth in EPS, considerably higher than Thomson Reuters Street estimates (3.9% and 27%, respectively).

guidance q1 2019

My take: Thirty percent EPS growth ain’t bad for a middle-aged company in competitive markets, even if it is buoyed by multibillion dollar buybacks.