Apple shares tumble despite new revenue high
San Francisco — Record iPhone and iPad sales pushed Apple revenue to a new high in the closing quarter of last year but shares tumbled on Monday over concerns on weaker profits ahead.
JUSTIN SULLIVAN, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA, AFP
The California-based tech giant reported net income of $13.1 billion on revenue of $57.6 billion in the quarter that ended December 28, helped by selling 51 million iPhones.
The profit was the same as Apple reported in the same quarter a year earlier when its revenue was $54.5 billion.
Apple shares fell more than seven percent to $507.69 in after-hours trade on the flat profit and a weaker-than-expected outlook ahead.
While Apple profit beat Wall Street expectations, shares were "trading down" largely due to "disappointing" guidance that revenue will drop in the current quarter despite the benefits of launching the iPhone last week on China's largest telecom network, RBC Capital Markets said in a note to investors.
"China Mobile has more subscibers than anyone in the world," Apple chief Tim Cook said during an earnings call when asked about the iPhone launch on that network.
"I do see it as a watershed moment for Apple and have a very strong belief in the ability of the two companies to do great things together."
Apple company said it sold 26 million iPads during the quarter, also an all-time quarterly record, as well as 4.8 million Macs.
"We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, software and services," Cook said.
"We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better."
While Apple remains the most valuable and among the most profitable companies, some analysts are concerned it is losing its edge and failing to keep up with rivals in the smartphone and tablet markets.
"Some of the shipments may be records, but Apple shares are taking it on the chin here. Sometimes great is not great enough," said Jon Ogg at 24/7 Wall Street.
The profit amounted to $14.50 a share, better than analyst forecasts.
But Apple's outlook for the current quarter, its second fiscal quarter, were below forecasts at between $42 billion and $44 billion in revenue.
Apple has been facing pressure from billionaire Carl Icahn, which wants the company to boost the size of its share buyback to deliver more cash to shareholders.
Apple is progressing on a plan to return $100 billion to investors through dividends and repurchasing shares and gave no indication it intended to expand the program.
"We are a big believer in buying back the stock," Cook said.
Some analysts expressed concern that while sales of iPhones and iPads leapt, the overall smartphone and tablet markets jumped much higher in a sign that Apple was not gaining share.
International Data Corporation (IDC) reported on Monday that global shipments of smartphones last year topped a billion for the first time, up 38.4 percent from the 725.3 million shipped in 2012.
Apple had the "lowest year-on-year increase" of all major smartphone makers even though 5S and 5C models available in more countries, according to IDC.
"Samsung ended the quarter the same way it began the year: as the clear leader in worldwide smartphone shipments," IDC said.
"Now that Apple has finally arrived at China Mobile, it remains to be seen how much Apple will close the gap against Samsung in 2014."