Earnings: Apple Inc. (AAPL) Sells 51M iPhones in Q1, Stock Tanks

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) posted solid earnings results tonight after the closing bell, but the big number – iPhone sales – was a disappointment. The company reported earnings per share of $14.50 on revenue of $56.7 billion. Shares fell sharply in the wake of this evening’s earnings report. Apple stock plunged 5% right after investors got their first glimpse of the results, and is currently still falling.

Analysts had been expecting the company to report earnings of $14.09 per share on revenue of $57.46 billion for the quarter. They were also expecting Apple to report shipments of 55 million iPhones, although some analysts were projecting even higher estimates than that. In the same quarter a year ago, Apple reported earnings of $13.81 per share on revenue of $54.73 billion. That was a significant surprise last year.

Breaking down Apple’s results

The company reported sales of 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads. Gross margins were reported to be 37.9%. Overall, Wall Street’s expectations for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were running high.

Apple’s results affected by changes

Of course Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s results this time around received a boost from the addition of NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest carrier. The company also launched its two new iPhones on China Telecom and China Unicom starting at the very beginning of the launch—unlike past years when Chinese buyers had to wait weeks or even months to buy the new iPhone.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s current quarter is expected to receive a boost from the addition of China Mobile, but exactly how much of a boost is up for debate. The company’s guidance does provide a bit of a glimpse on how things might be going with China Mobile, but it is still early in the quarter.

BGC Partners downgraded their rating to HOLD from BUY as AAPL’s stock reached the firm’s $550 price target and they reportedly expected the performance of the stock to track more in line with the broader market index.

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