Apple stock is a bit weaker this morning, falling more than 1% after a couple of negative news bits. Or rather, one piece of negative news and the lack of another key announcement which was expected today. Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE:JBL) reported weak guidance, while China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:941) has yet to announce a deal with Apple—a deal which was widely expected to be revealed today.
Jabil's weak results = potentially poor results for Apple
This morning Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE:JBL), which is a major supplier for Apple, reported first fiscal quarter earnings per share of 51 cents. That was 4 cents lower than consensus estimates of 55 cents per share. The company's revenue was $4.6 billion, compared to expectations of $4.49 billion for the quarter.
The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier reported guidance for the second fiscal quarter of the year to be between 5 cents and 15 cents. That's compared to expectations of 52 cents. In revenue for the quarter, Jabil guided for between $3.5 billion and $3.7 billion. That's far weaker than expectations of $4.28 billion.
Apple made up 19% of Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE:JBL)'s revenue for the 2013 fiscal year, so needless to say, these weak results and exceptionally weak guidance means Apple could post weak results as well. Investors are undoubtedly expecting bad things, which is why Apple stock fell more than 1% in premarket trading.
Apple and China Mobile
Reuters reported today that China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:941)'s chairman said they are still talking with Apple about selling its iPhones on the carrier's network. Many have expected that the two companies would announce a final deal today because today is the day when China Mobile starts rolling out 4G LTE technology on its network. In addition, a page on the carrier's website suggested it would be taking iPhone preorders very soon.
Analysts have been projecting that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could sell up to 25 million iPhones on China Mobile's network if the two can come to terms which are acceptable to both of them. Apple could see billions in revenue from selling its iPhones on China Mobile, which has approximately 759 million subscribers.
Apple – China Mobile deal could be March or April
There are already approximately 45 million China Mobile subscribers using iPhones with limited functionality because they're using them on the lower-tech 2G parts of the network, so it would make sense that Apple would see a significant influx if China Mobile ever starts offering the iPhone on its fully updated 4G LTE network.
Forbes contributor Tim Worstall reported this week that his sources suggest a March or April announcement of a deal between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and China Mobile is more likely. He notes that the deal doesn't depend on the rollout of 4G LTE technology, not only because so many subscribers are happy with a less-functional iPhone on a 2G network, but also because it will take some time for China Mobile to deploy the new technology.
He says that rather than depending on the announcement about the beginning of the rollout of the new tech, the deal between Apple and China Mobile is more dependent on how quickly the carrier can roll out that technology. If Worstall's sources are right, then Apple stock could get more of a boost earlier next year from the China Mobile deal.