Just How Important Are Apple’s Earnings?

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) December quarter earnings are being seen as the most important in several years for the company. After all, the iPhone maker’s stock has been under considerable distress over the past few months on investor concerns about its long-term growth prospects.

To add to the pressure, there have been recent reports claiming decreased iPhone and iPad demand in the ongoing quarter. A handy beat in what is traditionally a strong three-month period for Apple will go a long way in shaping the mood of the coming few days.

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Apple has only missed Wall Street forecasts four times in the last 10 years, but somehow, two of those have come in the two most recent quarters. This time around, it won’t be enough for Apple to just meet targets, according to some. In fact, that may cause shares to fall further in the short term. Beating expectations, on the other hand, will go a long way in restoring confidence.

“If you have a 10 percent to 15 percent beat on estimates, it will be enough to have people say, ‘Oh my gosh, Apple has its game back,’” said Chris Bertelsen, the chief investment officer of Global Financial Private Capital, told Reuters. The company also holds a fairly major sway on the larger markets.