Apple Beats March-Quarter Sales, Earnings Targets; Shares Pop
Consumer electronics giant Apple (AAPL) late Tuesday beat Wall Street’s targets for the March quarter, guided analysts higher for sales in the June quarter and announced a big boost to its dividends and share buybacks.
The news sent Apple shares jumping nearly 4% in after-hours trading on the stock market today. During the regular session, Apple rose 2.3% to 169.10. It has been forming a flat base for the past eight weeks with a buy point of 183.60. However, Apple stock has been laggard against the S&P 500 during the past year.
Apple earned $2.73 a share, up 30% year over year, on sales of $61.1 billion, up 16%, in its fiscal second quarter ended March 31. Analysts expected earnings of $2.69 a share on sales of $61 billion for the March quarter.
$100 Billion Apple Share Buyback
As expected, Apple announced a big increase to its capital return program thanks to repatriated foreign profits. The company approved a new $100 billion share repurchase authorization and increased its quarterly dividend by 16% to 73 cents a share.
The company said it will complete the execution of its previous $210 billion share repurchase authorization during the third fiscal quarter.
“With the greater flexibility we now have from access to our global cash, we can more efficiently invest in our U.S. operations and work toward a more optimal capital structure,” Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in a news release.
For the current quarter, Apple expects to generate revenue of $52.5 billion, based on the midpoint of its guidance. It did not give a target for earnings per share. Wall Street was modeling Apple to earn $2.16 a share on sales of $52 billion.
IPhone Sales Miss Views
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company sold 52.2 million iPhones in the quarter, vs. the consensus expectation for 53 million units. During the fiscal second quarter last year, Apple sold 50.8 million iPhones.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook sought to ease concerns about disappointing sales of its flagship iPhone X smartphone.
“Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter,” Cook said in a statement. “We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20% growth in Greater China and Japan.”
He noted strong revenue growth in iPhone, services and wearables.
Apple’s quarterly results showed “impressive upside, given all the negativity” around the company lately, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said in a report.
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