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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did not make its investors very happy after announcing fourth-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations, though signs looked more wobbly in market action on Friday with the company closing slightly lower 0.91 percent at $604. On Thursday, trading had been halted for a few minutes after the earnings announcement, which came after the company ended the day 1.14 percent down at $609.80. The stock is now off more than 13 percent from its peak of $700 on the day of the iPhone 5 launch last month.
While iPhone sales over the last three months were not as bad as dreaded, a slowdown in iPad sales hurt the company. Apple sold 29.9 million iPhones in the quarter, a 58 percent unit growth year-over-year, and 14 million iPads, a 26 percent unit increase. Analysts had made average predictions of between 25 million and 26 million phones and 15 million tablets.
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While the company’s earnings grew 24 percent to $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share, from $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per share, in the year-ago quarter, average Wall Street expectations had been for $8.84 per share. Apple did beat revenue predictions marginally, with a 27 percent increase to $36 billion and international sales making up 60 percent of it. Analysts had estimated revenue to come in at $35.86 billion.
Average gross margin of 40 percent was almost the same as the 40.3 percent in the year-ago quarter.
The company sold 4.9 million iMacs during the quarter, a 1 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter, and 5.3 million iPods, a 19 percent unit decline. It has seen iPod declines for a few quarters now.
Most of the slowdown in iPad sales will be attributed to the fact that the company was due to announce new tablet products. Earlier this week, Apple unveiled the iPad mini and the fourth generation of its full-sized iPad.
“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”
The company forecast revenue of about $52 billion for the holiday quarter along with $11.75 in earnings per share, both conservative figures when compared to analysts’ predictions of $55.02 billion and $15.43, respectively.
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