Apple post improved profitability defying analysts forecasts

Apple post improved profitability defying analysts forecasts

Tech giant Apple’s share price lifted more than six per cent to a record high after hours as it defied analyst forecasts in the third quarter.

The firm reported sales for the quarter ending on 1 July were up 7.2 per cent to $45.41bn (£34.39bn) and earnings were up to $1.67 per share from $1.42 per share the previous year.

Analysts were expecting Apple to earn $1.57 a share with revenue of $44.89bn.

The company’s shares rose 6.1 per cent to $159.20 in after-hours trading as Apple announced it expects revenue of between $49bn and $52bn in the fourth quarter, helping to clear some worries that the iPhone 8 was facing a production delay.

Tim Cook, chief executive of the firm, said Apple posted unit and revenue growth in all product categories in the third quarter.

“With revenue up seven per cent year-over-year, we’re happy to report our third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth and an all-time quarterly record for services revenue,” Cook said.

Cook added the company is excited about advances in iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS coming this fall.

In terms of its devices, unit sales of iPads shot up more than 14 per cent to 11.4m with revenue up 1.9 per cent to $4.9bn, and Mac unit sales edged up 0.94 per cent to 4.3m with revenue up 6.7 per cent to $5.59bn.

iPhone unit sales increased 1.55 per cent to 41m from the previous year but fell 19 per cent from the second quarter. Revenue from iPhone sales increased 3.3. per cent to $24.85bn year-on-year but fell 25 per cent from the previous quarter.

Geoff Blaber, vice president of research for the Americas at CCS Insight, said it was a solid quarter despite slowing iPhone demand ahead of the new product launch.

All eyes are on the new iPhone product launches and the scope for a later October launch for the flagship. Apple has shown a remarkable ability to manage supply chain and ramp new iPhone models but a delay will add pressure to fulfill pent up demand in the last calendar quarter of the year.

However, Blaber added that China remains to be a concern for the tech giant.

Competition from domestic players is intensifying and it’s clear that its ecosystem advantage in the West is far harder to replicate as powerfully in the East where Tencent and others dominate.

Meanwhile Apple’s cash pile swelled again this quarter, hitting a record $261.5 billion, compared with $256.8 billion last quarter. That’s up 13 percent year over year.

To put it in context: If all of that money could be put to work today, it would be enough to buy Oracle outright and still have $54 billion left over. It’s also enough to buy Wal-Mart or AT&T outright, based on current market cap.

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