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Apple squeaks over revenue estimates, misses earnings target

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Apple reported revenues in its fourth fiscal quarter that topped the Wall Street moneymen's predictions – but only barely. Its earnings per share, however, came in lower than most predictions.

Cupertino posted quarterly revenue of $36bn, which resulted in a quarterly earnings-per-share (EPS) of $8.67.

According to the 47 analysts that Yahoo! Finance surveyed, Apple was expected to post revenues of $35.8bn, with the low estimate being $34.28bn and the high, $38.04bn. The all-important EPS projection, however, was $8.75, with a low of $8.00 and a high of $9.68.

The just-end quarter's figures, however, are a solid step up from the same quarter last year, when Apple disappointed the Wall Street moneymen by reporting an EPS of $7.05 per share with revenues of $28.27bn. At that time, analysts polled by Fortune and Citigroup had hoped for an EPS of between $8.14 and $8.88 – although Thompson Reuter's estimate had comparatively lowballed Apple at $7.28.

Last quarter's earning were a disappointment as well, with Apple reporting an EPS of $9.32 and revenues of $35.02bn for the quarter that ended in June. The Street had expected better, with estimates as high as an EPS of $10.37 and revenues of $37.18bn.

Apple released the iPhone 5 on September 12. The fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012 ended on September 29, so Thursday's financial figures included just over two weeks sales of Apple's biggest revenue generator.

Shortly after the iPhone 5 went on sale, Cupertino reported that sales had topped five million in its first weekend, a number that disappointed some analysts, who had predicted first-weekend sales as high as eight to 10 million.

During the just-ended quarter, Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones, up 58 per cent over the year-ago quarter. It also sold 14 million iPads during the quarter, up 26 per cent over the same period last year, and 4.9 million Macs, essentially flat at a 1 per cent increase.

CEO Tim Cook believes his company is well-positioned for the holiday shoioppnig frenzy that's about to begin. "We're very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results," he said in a 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."

Apple's shares took a quick drop of over 1 per cent on the news. ®

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