Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is scheduled to release its next earnings report on July 22, but most analysts aren’t expecting much share movement around it. Instead, they believe stock price movement will be centered around expectations for the upcoming iPhone 6 and rumored iWatch, which are expected out sometime this fall.
Apple outperforms going into product launches
In a report dated July 17, 2014, Bernstein analysts Toni Sacconaghi, Jr., Jonathan Cofsky and Eric C. Garfunkel said shares of Apple has typically outperformed by 11 basis points in the two months before an iPhone launch and 560 basis points in the one month before. At this point, they estimate that we’re about two months from the iPhone 6 unveiling, which means that we’re entering into that two-month mark.
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Most analysts agree with the Bernstein team that the iPhone 6 upgrade cycle will be bigger than usually, possibly with the help of a higher average selling price due to a second even bigger and more expensive iPhone. And if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does enter into a new product category with the rumored iPhone 6, they think investors could get even more excited.
Growth investors underweight on Apple
The Bernstein team also notes that growth investors have tended to be underweight on Apple relative to the Russell Growth Index. In addition, they note that the index was reconstituted at the end of last month. The reconstitution increased Apple’s weighting in the index from 4.1% to 5.3%.
They think this could create “an additional buy bid” for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock.
Apple results expected to be in line with estimates
The Bernstein analysts are looking for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s results to be about in line with consensus estimates. They’re projecting sales of 34.1 million iPhones and 14.4 million iPads. They think gross margins is one of the most important metrics in next week’s report. They want to see if Apple will overachieve for a second consecutive quarter and in the last quarter before new products are unveiled. The other number they want to see is whether the channel inventory for the iPhone declined.
They’re looking for $37.6 billion in revenue, which is slightly lower than consensus estimates at $37.9 billion. They’re expecting earnings per share of $1.24, compared to consensus estimates of $1.22 per share and the implied guidance midpoint of $1.18 per share.
They expect gross margins to be between 37% and 38%, with 160 to 170 basis points of headwinds quarter over quarter. They do think that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will benefit from another quarter of mature products” and that investors will largely overlook the numbers in next week’s report.
In terms of guidance, they say the main reason it will matter is whether it suggests anything about the timing of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s upcoming products, including the iPhone 6 and whether there might indeed be more than one model.