Analysts have been doing a good job of setting low expectations for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s earnings report tonight. Forbes does a great job of summing up what investors are expecting: “flat revenues, minimal earnings growth due only to share buybacks, a tiny uptick in iPhone sales offset by a downtick in iPad sales.”
What to expect in Apple’s report
Consensus estimates suggest that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will report earnings per share of $10.18 for the March quarter. That reflects only a 1% growth over last year’s second fiscal quarter. They’re expecting to see revenue of $43.53 billion, which is on the high end of Apple’s guidance, which was between $42 billion and $44 billion. Analysts generally believe Apple shipped 37 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads during the March quarter.
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Most analysts are already looking ahead to the June quarter, so Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s guidance will likely also affect tonight’s earnings. Once again, expectations are pretty low because the quarter is typically slow as consumers look ahead to the next iPhone and iPad models. Anticipation is believed to be even higher this year because Apple is finally expected to launch an iPhone with a larger screen.
iPhone 6 expectations may weigh on Apple results
CNBC reports that consumers who are waiting for the iPhone 6 to come out may have already been holding back on buying new iPhones during the March quarter. Of course the result would be weak earnings from now until the handset is launched. ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall is one of several analysts who believe expectations around the iPhone 6 will negatively impact Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s earnings.
Another reason analysts believe the March quarter will be especially weak is because Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched the iPhone 5S in international markets during the fourth quarter. In the past, Apple launched it in international markets during the second fiscal quarter, which means international customers who were going to buy the handset and normally would in the March quarter have already purchased it.