Apple earnings: misses estimates, slashes guidance

Summary:Apple has released its fourth quarter results for the fiscal year 2012, missing some estimates and lowering guidance for Q1. Here's a look at the numbers.

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Apple today announced earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012, posting earnings per share of $8.67 on revenue of $35.97 billion. That just misses estimates for EPS but beats them for sales. Overall it's a minor miss for the quarter, but the company is generally on track.

More worrisome: the company dropped its guidance below analysts' expectations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 considerably, from diluted earnings per share of $15.49 on revenue of $55 billion to just $11.75 on revenue of $52 billion. That's a disappointing surprise, particularly since most investors consider Apple to habitually low-ball its quarterly estimates.

Shares of Apple were down two percent in after-hours trading, trading below $600 for the first time since late July.

Wall Street analysts had expected $8.81 earnings per share on $35.8 billion in revenue in Q4. But it's the company's stormy outlook for 2013 that has them concerned.

First, the quarterly vitals:

  • Revenue: $36.0 billion, up considerably from $28.3 billion the same quarter a year ago.
  • Net profit: $8.2 billion ($8.67 per diluted share), up considerably from the $6.6 billion ($7.05 per diluted share) the same quarter a year ago.
  • Gross margin: 40.0 percent, slightly lower than 40.3 percent the same quarter a year ago.
  • International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter's revenue.
  • Apple's board declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of common stock, payable Nov. 15.

Key product performance this quarter:

  • iPhones: 26.9 million, up 58 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • iPads: 14.0 million iPads, up 26 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • Macs: 4.9 million Macs, up 1 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • iPods: 5.3 million, up 19 percent from the same period a year ago.

Analysts had expected sales of 25.3 million iPhones, 15 million iPads, 5 million Macs and 5.5 million iPods.

Regional performance this quarter:

  • Americas: Revenue up 8 percent quarter over quarter; up 43 percent from a year ago.
  • Europe: Revenue down 3 percent QoQ; up 8 percent YoY.
  • Japan: Revenue up 18 percent QoQ; up 113 percent YoY.
  • Asia Pacific: Revenue down 4 percent QoQ; up 15 percent YoY.
  • Retail: Revenue up 4 percent QoQ; up 18 percent YoY.

Vitals for fiscal year 2012:

  • Net income: $41 billion
  • Operating cash flow: $50 billion

Expectations heading into the announcement were slightly hazy after chief executive Tim Cook announced this week that Apple had sold its 100 millionth iPad -- a milestone that hid a slower pace of sales than analysts expected. 

This week, Apple also unveiled the new iPad mini as well as a refresh on the full-size iPad, 13-inch MacBook Pro and iMac.

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My colleague Zack Whittaker will be covering the corresponding earnings call shortly; check Between the Lines in a few minutes for his coverage on what Apple's executives said about the quarter.

Topics: Apple

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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