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Apple annihilates Wall Street performance estimates

Third fiscal quarter results 'best quarter ever' (again)

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With another fiscal quarter now in the bank, Apple has again embarrassed Wall Street analysts.

The Cupertinian juggernaut posted its financial results for its third fiscal quarter of 2011 on Tuesday, and the numbers were – to understate a wee bit – quite satisfactory.

"We're thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 per cent and profits up 125 per cent,” said CEO Steve Jobs.

The Wall Street moneymen, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters, had expected net income to be up 65 per cent. The money folks had expected revenue of $24.9bn; Apple posted $28.57bn.

The Street was looking for earnings per share of $5.80; Apple posted results of $7.79 per share. During the same quarter last year, earnings per share were about half this most-recent quarter, at $3.51 per share.

Sales of the iPhone were up 142 per cent year-on-year to 20.34 million. Nine and a quarter million iPads were sold, a 183 per cent increase over the year-ago quarter – the iPad shipped on April 4, 2010, about one month into that quarter.

Mac sales were up, as well, though not nearly so spectacularly: Apple sold 3.95 million Macs in the quarter, a 14 per cent increase. As expected, iPods continued their steady decline, dropping 20 per cent to 7.54 million.

Apple may be playing rope-a-dope with its estimates for the next quarter. "Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011," said CFO Peter Oppenheimer, "we expect revenue of about $25 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.50." According to MarketWatch, analysts are expecting higher projections: revenue of $27.7bn and earnings of $6.42 per share.

We'll see. ®

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