Friday, 02 November 2018 10:10

Apple shares fall on holiday sales forecasts

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Apple shares fall on holiday sales forecasts Pixabay

Apple has reported better earnings than expected for its fiscal fourth quarter, but the company's shares fell 7% on Thursday after chief executive Tim Cook warned that the next quarter, that covers the holiday season, could see less sales than predicted.

Revenue for the quarter that ended in September was US$62.9 billion, up 20% from that recorded a year earlier, with international sales responsible for 61%. Earnings per diluted share were up 41% to US$2.91.

But the company forecast revenue of between US$89 billion and US$93 billion for the first quarter that ends in December, with the midpoint below the US$93 billion forecast by analysts, Reuters reported.

Also contributing to the fall in the share price was a statement from the company that in future it would not provide a breakout of devices sold.

Service revenue for the fourth quarter was also up, rising by 27% to US$10 billion.

Cook said the forecast for the coming quarter was partly due to the fact that the new iPhone models were released in the fourth quarter. Foreign exchange rates were also blamed, with a fall of about US$2 billion attributed to this factor.

“We’re thrilled to report another record-breaking quarter that caps a tremendous fiscal 2018, the year in which we shipped our two billionth iOS device, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store and achieved the strongest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Cook.

“Over the past two months, we’ve delivered huge advancements for our customers through new versions of iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac as well as our four operating systems, and we enter the holiday season with our strongest lineup of products and services ever.”

Apple chief financial officer Luca Maestri said: "We concluded a record year with our best September quarter ever, growing double digits in every geographic segment. We set September quarter revenue records for iPhone and Wearables and all-time quarterly records for Services and Mac.

“We generated US$19.5 billion in operating cash flow and returned over US$23 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases in the September quarter, bringing total capital returned in fiscal 2018 to almost US$90 billion.”

Apple provided the following guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter:

  • revenue between US$89 billion and US$93 billion;
  • gross margin between 38% and 38.5%;
  • operating expenses between US$8.7 billion and US$8.8 billion;
  • other income/(expense) of US$300 million; and
  • tax rate of approximately 16.5% before discrete items.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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