Analyst on Wall Street are quite optimistic of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s performance during the 2012 holiday shopping season, despite third-quarter earnings not meeting market expectations.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) which rarely misses expectations, be it market or users, reported on Tuesday, sales of 26 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, and 4 million Macs, resulting in a profit increase of just over 20 percent to $8.8 billion. Sales of iPhone and Mac fell short of expectation while the iPad sales reached a new all-time record.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s prediction, ahead of Apple’s Tuesday’s earnings report, was the most accurate one. The prediction was off by 1.6 percent on revenue and earnings per share, and 3.8 percent on all categories, including product sales. Huberty the analyst from Morgan Stanley who did the prediction issued a note to investors after Tuesday’s earnings call, in which she said, Apple’s “near-term pain” will be “offset by long-term gain.” Huberty advised investors to hold on to Apple stocks, as in past AAPL have increased 30 percent on average, and outperformed the S&P 500 by 27 percent in the three months leading up to iPhone product announcements. “We expect similar strong performance ahead of iPhone 5, which we believe will feature LTE connectivity, and a new form factor (thinner, new casing),” Huberty wrote. “While weaker than expected Jun/Sept (quarter) results are disappointing near-term, it potentially sets up for even stronger sequential results in the December quarter.”
Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) analyst, Ben A. Reitzes, who missed revenue and earnings per share by 6 percent, and all categories by 7 percent, told investors that the below expectation results are due to a “pause” in iPhone sales, as well as weaker-than-expected gross margins, at 42.8 percent. “Although we believe that investors were prepared for typically conservative guidance on the top line in Apple’s range, Apple’s (earnings per share) expectations seem to reflect lower-than-expected gross margins, which may raise some concerns,” he said. “We believe the next big product cycle with the iPhone 5 will have a bigger impact in the December quarter.” Apple has projected revenue of about $34 billion, which is below Reitze’s and market expectation of around $38 billion. He expects near term Apple results will be disappointing.
Analyst Mark Moskowitz, affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), said that Apple’s earnings miss, was the result of slowing iPhone sales ahead of a next-generation launch, higher mix of lower-margin iPad sales, and weak macroeconomic conditions in Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Canada. Moskowitz said “In the near term, we think that the bear camp wins, likely pressuring shares of Apple. Unfortunately, as investors look beyond Apple, we think that the company’s commentary supporting the bear camp could result in broader selling pressures in tech stocks and beyond.” Moskowitz lowered J.P. Morgan’s price target on AAPL stock saying, “While lowering our estimates and price target again, we think that our long-term thesis on Apple remains intact,” he said. “We are concerned that the ride could be bumpy in the near term though, particularly given lingering macro risks and questions related to the (average selling price) trends.”
After the below expectation third quarter results from Apple, a number of analysts have lowered their price target for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock. But they remain optimistic about Apple’s near-term future, with the anticipated launch of a next-generation iPhone, and the lucrative holiday shopping season.