Should You Take a Bite Out of AAPL After Earnings?
May 6, 2018
It’s amazing how the Street was universally prepared for Apple (AAPL) to lay an egg when it reported earnings on May 1, but instead it turned out to have several gems. It was a solid quarter overall and management also provided solid guidance, and now the stocks is trading at all-time highs.
Earnings of $2.73 a share were up from $2.10 a share last year and easily beat estimates of $2.67, and revenue also came in better than expected having grown 15.5% to $61.1 billion. iPhone shipments were a little soft, coming in at 52.2 million versus expectations of 52.54 million, but the result was still up year-over-year. Plus, CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone X’s were bought “more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter.” Turns out it was the world’s most popular smartphone for the second consecutive quarter.
Looking ahead, management forecasted revenue of $51.5-$53.5 billion in the fiscal third quarter. The Street was at the low end of that range at $51.61 billion, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that come up now.
Some of the other highlights of the report include:
- Average selling price of an iPhone: $728
- iPad unit sales: 9.1 million
- Mac unit sales: 4.08 million
- Services revenue: $9.2 million (+31%)
- Gross margin: 38.5
- Dividend: $0.73 per share (+16%)
I must say that service number is a monster, and it indicates that Apple can grow its business beyond devices. In fact, I think it still has a chance to supercharge growth even after allotting a staggering $100 billion to share buybacks – a move sure to anger politicians who think “profits” is a four-letter word even if the news helps the tens of millions of people who own AAPL in retirement accounts.
The stock has always changed hands at very low valuation metrics, and in a different era in which companies are rewarded more for the top line than the bottom this stock would be substantially higher. That being said, I do suspect all those Wall Street mavens with egg on their face will only double down on their negative views of the company.
There is no doubt that AAPL should be more aggressive with its giant cash pile with respect to acquisitions, but overall I like that current management continues to deliver. Long-term investors should base their decisions on that rather than quarterly guessing games about shortfalls and hiccups at a company that rarely has either.