Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/18/apple_q5_2011/
Apple slips, moneymen pounce
Quarterly financial results miss projections
Apple has released its financial results  for its fourth fiscal quarter, and in doing so it handed conservative Wall Street prognosticators a rare win: Cupertino failed to meet or exceed analysts expectations for the first time in many a moon.
On Monday, Fortune averaged a number of independent analysts's predictions and came up with a healthy earnings-per-share forecast of $8.88 . Citigroup bumped its estimate of Apple's EPS from $8.14 to $8.54 .
Far less optimistic, however, was the Thomson Reuters estimate, which is based on the considered opinions of 46 institutional analysts. As reported by Yahoo! Finance , those worthies predicted that Apple's earnings per share would come in at $7.28.
Apple's actual earnings per share for the fourth quarter, which ended on September 24, was a mere $7.05.
In addition, Thomson's analysts' consensus on Apple's earnings for the quarter was $29.45bn. Cupertino slipped there, as well, with actual earnings of $28.27bn, which resulted in a quarterly net profit of $6.62bn
Don't get us wrong – Apple is far from slipping down the crapper. In fact, when compared with the year-ago quarter, which had revenues of $20.34bn and net profits of $4.31bn, these numbers are positively rosy.
But when compared with analysts' expectations, they're a disappointment.
We're betting that Apple's missing the Street's projections may have been due to depressed iPhone 4 sales in the run-up to the iPhone 4S's introduction – and the fact that four million of the new handsets were sold during its first weekend  of availability indicates that there was, indeed, quite a bit of pent-up demand.
But Wall Street isn't happy: Apple's stock dove by over 6 per cent in the immediate aftermath of the earnings announcement.
The moneymen are merciless. To twist a baseball metaphor, in the stock game you're only as good as your next at bat. ®