What to Expect When Apple Reports After the Close

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to release its fiscal third-quarter financial results after the markets close on Tuesday. The consensus estimates are calling for $2.10 in earnings per share (EPS) and $53.39 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the tech giant said it had $2.34 in EPS and $53.27 billion in revenue.

The iPhone maker is perhaps the number-one technology company that will win if a trade truce between the United States and China comes to pass.

Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating on Apple with a $230 price objective. The firm’s Wamsi Mohan remains positive but trimmed Apple’s earnings expectations based on slower App store revenues. His earnings targets went down to $11.68 per share from $11.74 for 2019, to $13.20 from $13.28 in 2020 and to $16.15 from $16.24 in 2021.

Mohan noted that while the growth in China App store revenue was 23% annualized in April, its growth declined to 19% in May and then to just 5% in June.

Mohan does view the G-20 trade truce as a positive development as it keeps Apple’s prices unchanged and also delays an immediate need to shift manufacturing and supply chain out of China. More on slowing App store sales was noted as follows:

Given the slowdown in global App store revenue growth during the quarter, and the incremental FX headwinds on non App Store China demand we lower our estimate for F3Q19 (June quarter) services growth to 16% y/y, from prior 18% y/y. We also lower our estimate for Apple Services revenue growth for the Sep quarter (F4Q19) to 17% y/y, from prior estimate of 21% y/y. We reiterate our Buy rating on a strong capital return program, long-term strong growth forecast for Apple services, and potential new products.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Apple had outperformed the broad markets, with its stock up about 33% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the stock was up closer to 8%.

A few other analysts weighed in on Apple ahead of the report as well:

  • Cowen has a Buy rating.
  • UBS has a Buy rating and a $235 price target.
  • JPMorgan has a Buy rating with a $239 price target.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating with a $187 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley rates it as Overweight with a $247 price target.
  • Wedbush has an Outperform rating with a $235 price target.
  • Nomura has a Neutral rating with a $180 price target.
  • Raymond James has an Outperform rating and a $250 target.

Shares of Apple traded down about 1% on Tuesday to $207.55, in a 52-week range of $142.00 to $233.47. The consensus price target is $213.53.


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