Apple on Thursday announced the kind of revenue and earnings growth almost any other company could only dream about but was punished by investors in after-hours trading because they expected even better results.
Apple's strong fourth fiscal quarter 2012 results reflected significant growth in its best-selling iPhone and iPad lines, but fourth-quarter earnings and the next quarter's expected revenue and earnings were below analysts' expectations.
During its fourth quarter, Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones, which was up about 58 percent over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, up 26 percent; 4.9 million Macs, up 1 percent; and 5.3 million iPods, up 19 percent.
For the quarter, which ended Sept. 29, Apple reported revenue of $36.0 billion, up 27 percent over the $28.3 billion the company reported for its fourth fiscal 2011 quarter.
The company also reported GAAP profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share, for the latest quarter, which is up about 24 percent over the $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per share, it reported last year.
While the company's fourth-quarter revenue barely exceeded analysts' expectations of $35.8 billion, earnings per share were less than the expected $8.85, according to Zacks Investment Research.
As a result, Apple share prices plunged 1.2 percent in after-hours trading to $609.54.
Apple said it expects fiscal quarter 2013 revenue of about $52.0 billion and earnings per share of about $11.75.
Aaron Rakers, an analyst with Baltimore, Md.-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, wrote in a Thursday research report that analysts had had previously estimated Apple's first quarter revenue would be $54.9 billion, while his own company had expected $57.1 billion. Analyst expectations for first quarter earnings per share were $15.45, while his own company had expected $16.50.
"We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, in a prepared 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."
PUBLISHED OCT. 25, 2012