Apple shares take a tumble after earnings report

The electronics giant's revenue results and projections raise worries about slowing growth. Shares initially fall 5 percent on the news, but the losses later accelerate to 10 percent.

Apple investors wish shares were still moving higher, but that's definitely not the case in after-hours trading today. James Martin/CNET
Apple investors hoping for a nice stock boost following fiscal first-quarter earnings are likely pretty disappointed right now.

Shares, which have already been under pressure in recent weeks, slid about 10 percent in late trading after the Cupertino, Calif., electronics giants failed to post quarterly results that were as strong as hoped. Shares initially slid about 5 percent after the report, but losses accelerated during Apple's conference call.

Revenue for the first-quarter ended in January was weaker than analysts expected, as were the company's projections for second-quarter sales. And iPhone sales, while a record, also weren't quite enough to please investors.

All-in-all, the quarterly numbers likely won't assuage fears about slowing growth. Reports over the past few weeks have speculated that Apple is cutting component orders for its iPhone 5 owing to slumping demand for the handset, and other reports have said Apple also is having trouble selling its tablets.

Shares recently dropped 10 percent in after-hours trading, to $461. They had risen as high as $705.07 in September.

Even as investors sold off shares, many analysts remained bullish on Apple. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek noted that the revenue projection for the current quarter was better than many feared, though the second-quarter per-share earnings results implied by the guidance could be a bit light. He added that iPhone shipments were particularly disappointing.

And Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said that while iPhone sales were "mildly disappointing," he's still confident about the long-term prospects for iOS. He added that the company's revenue guidance for $41 billion to $43 billion was about in line with his expectations of $41 billion.

"Net-net, while we believe the iPhone number may appear disappointing, the slightly better guide implies that investors may not need to continue to worry about noise regarding continued iPhone build decreases for March," Munster said.

For the quarter ended in December, Apple posted revenue of $54.5 billion, and earnings of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per share. That was just below the $54.7 billion and slightly above earnings per share of $13.44 that Wall Street was expecting, but above the $52 billion and $11.75 per share that Apple forecast for itself back in October.

Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones during the quarter, which ended in December. Sales of the iPad came in at 22.9 million, with 4.1 million units sold for the Mac. Customers bought 12.7 million iPods.

Correction, 5:25 p.m. PT: This story incorrectly stated the 52-week low for Apple's stock price. As of publication, that figure was $419.55.

 

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