Fortune has done its usual analyst poll ahead of Apple announcing its Q1 earnings tomorrow, and Wall Street is expecting the company to significantly out-perform its earnings guidance of $63.5 to $66.5B.
The consensus among the analysts Fortune polled — 20 professionals and 15 amateurs — is that Apple’s total sales for fiscal Q1 2015 will come in at about $68.3 billion, up 21% year over year.
Credit Suisse analysts have estimated that Apple is making a smaller margin on the iPhone 6 than on any previous model – but predicts that the impact will be offset by year-on-year revenue growth of 14 percent, reports Quartz.
The iPhone 6 costs Apple $350.60 to produce, all in. Apple typically receives $599 on the retail price of $649, leaving it with $248.40 in gross profit. That’s 41.5%. Still very healthy, but not at the levels of previous models.
In contrast, the iPhone 5s left Apple with $274.30, giving it a 45.8% margin. The two-year-old iPhone 5 gave Apple $293.70 per unit, or 49% …
While Wall Street may have been slightly disappointed by some of the numbers Apple reported yesterday, they should feel reassured by Apple stabilising and growing its gross margins, say Apple bulls – analysts who expect the stock price to rise.
Very stable long-term gross margins. Painful contrast to rest of the industry …
Here’s how Apple’s Q3 results stack up against the analyst expectations compiled by Fortune. Revenue grew 6 percent, but Wall Street was expecting more. Earnings per share was marginally higher than expected, at $1.28 per diluted share. Gross margin was higher than expected at 39.4 percent.
iPhone sales were slightly lower than expected, while iPad sales were significantly below analyst predictions. Mac and iPod sales, in contrast, were higher.
Overall, market reaction was muted, with a slight drop in the share price in post-market trading – but with overall results broadly in line with expectations, all eyes now will be on Q4. Apple has issued wider than usual revenue guidance of $37 to $40 billion, but with the WSJ reporting that the company has ordered a record number of iPhones from suppliers, expectations will be at the high end.
Well Fargo has downgraded AAPL stock from ‘outperform’ to ‘market perform,’ citing the fact that the company’s gross margins have typically fallen 2.25 percent in the two quarters following the launch of a brand new iPhone model (rather than an S upgrade).
Our bullish thesis on Apple had been predicated on the expectation for gross margin (GM) expansion driven by the 5s cycle. While we still have conviction in the gross margin thesis (and the potential for iPad/iPhone unit upside), we believe this may be largely embedded into the valuation.
The bank has not changed its valuation range of $536 to $581, though is presumably now expecting something toward the lower end of the range.
Wells Fargo’s Maynard Um said that he also believed the balance of power may be shifting away from Apple to the carriers as they shift away from subsidized deals (read: disguised loans) to higher up-front costs and/or separate phone financing.