Apple Inc., Yahoo! Inc. Earnings: What Analysts Expect

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is expected to offer an update on her plans to sell the company’s remaining 15% stake in Alibaba

Two major tech companies Apple and Yahoo are scheduled to release their quarterly results today after the market close. Apple investors will be watching closely how many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units the company sold during the holiday quarter. The Cupertino company will announce its fiscal Q1, 2015 results at 5:00 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Yahoo investors would be more interested in Marissa Mayer’s plans to sell the company’s 15% stake in Alibaba.

Apple set to report record quarterly sales

The Cupertino company’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have done humongous business in almost every country. The October-December quarter is an important period for Apple because the holiday season is a big contributor to its sales and profits. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to sell 66.5 million iPhone units in the first quarter, up 30.4% from the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Analysts on average forecast $67.4 billion in sales, a 17% YoY increase from $57.6 billion in Q1, 2014. Wall Street expects the company to post a profit of $15.3 billion or $2.59 per share. Analysts’ projections are much higher than Apple’s own guidance of revenue between $63.5 billion and $66.5 billion for the quarter. Notably, analysts have been consistently upgrading their earnings estimates in the run up to Q1 results. The average EPS estimate has gone up by 4% in the last 90 days.

Analysts expect the iPad sales to decline 14% YoY to 22 million units. However, Mac sales are expected to rise 15% to 5.5 million units. Wall Street forecasts gross margins of 38.5%.

Yahoo’s revenue expected to dip slightly

Yahoo’s core business continues to struggle. Analysts expect the company to report 29 cents in EPS, down 37% from 46 cents in the same quarter a year ago. Fourth-quarter revenue is expected to decline 1% YoY to $1.19 billion. For the full-year 2014, revenue is expected to remain flat at $4.41 billion while adjusted earnings are projected to gain 4% YoY to $1.58.

For the fourth-quarter, Yahoo has guided revenue of $1.14 billion to $1.18 billion. The company forecasts operating income in the range of $190-$230 million, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.6 million. During September quarter, Yahoo generated an impressive $200 million from mobile operations. Marissa Mayer has vowed to make Yahoo a “mobile-first” company, so investors will be looking closely at the mobile revenue in Q4 to gauge the company’s success in mobile.

Moreover, Marissa Mayer has promised to provide an update on her plans to sell Yahoo’s remaining 15% stake in Alibaba that is currently valued at close to $40 billion. The company is exploring various tax-efficient alternatives to offload the Alibaba stake.

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