Apple reports higher profits, unveils big share buyback
- Author: Israel Montgomery May 03, 2018,
May 03, 2018, 14:08
It also managed to improve upon 2017's second quarter taking of $11.03bn by taking $13.82bn this year.
Regardless, today's post-earnings upside has short-term Apple call options pricing in remarkably high volatility expectations, compared to their put counterparts.
Apple pushed the industry towards "wireless" connectivity couple of years ago with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple previously promised to hire 20,000 more workers during the next five years, including some at a planned new campus in a still-to-be-identified USA city outside California.
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SINCE Apple said in January that it would bring back most of the US$252 billion it held overseas under the new tax law, investors have wondered what the company would do with the enormous cash pile. The tech giant's shares surged as much as 5% in after-hours trading on Tuesday. By comparison, USA companies in April announced a combined total of $50.4 billion in new buyback plans, up from $38.1 billion worth of planned buybacks announced in April 2017, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.
Apple's stock buyback fits into a broader trend of companies using the financial windfall from President Trump's tax cut to reward shareholders. Wall Street expected $60.8 billion. According to Mia Huang, a Taipei-based analyst at Trendforce, the production volume of the iPhone X fell significantly in the most recent quarter. Apple also sold 9.1 million iPads and 4.07 million Macs in the January-March period. Earnings per share of $2.73 narrowly beat the analysts' $2.69 average.
For the current quarter, which ends in June, Apple said it expects sales of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion, with the midpoint higher than the $52 billion expected by analysts, according to a poll by Yahoo Finance.
One major takeaway from Apple earnings was that the company showed the strongest growth in some of the most challenging parts of the world. The iPhone maker reported $3.89 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.82 by $0.07.
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Apple's services unit added 30 million subscriptions in the past 90 days alone, bringing the total to 270 million. Revenue jumped 31% to $9.2 billion. And AAPL's Other Products division -which includes the HomePod- saw a revenue increase of 38%. However, the 32% rise in sales volume did not result in an increase in revenue because actual selling prices of handsets had dropped.
"Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter", Cook told investors during a May 1 earnings call. Average selling prices for iPhone were $728, which is lower compared to the Wall Street expectations of $742. It's a strong proof that Apple was right all along about its $1,000 phone.
Investors should want companies to reinvest in themselves and their employees versus repurchasing their own stock to increase the share price, said William Lazonick, an economics professor at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who studies stock buybacks. But Apple firmly believed that it could still sell a ridiculously expensive phone by offering an entirely new design and innovative features such as Face ID and Animoji. What's different this time is that analysts and investors had mostly been bracing for weak iPhone numbers ahead of the report.
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