Apple misses on September quarter earnings and whacks fourth quarter guidance

10/25/2012 4:52 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Just the old conservative Apple (APPL) lowball on guidance or a sign of trouble? The market will tell us how it how it sees Apple’s September quarter numbers reported just moments ago and its guidance for the December quarter first when after hours trading opens at 4:50 New York time today and then more definitively tomorrow.

Guidance, I’d guess, is going to be the big issue. Apple told investors to expect $11.75 a share for the December quarter versus the current Wall Street estimate of $15.53. Revenue, for the quarter, will be $52 billion, the company said, instead of the $54.95 billion of the Wall Street consensus.

But there will be questions about the current quarter as well. The company reported September quarter earnings of $8.67 a share, missing the Wall Street projection of $8.75. Revenue climbed 27.2% year over year to $35.97 billion, a tad above the Wall Street consensus of $35.78 billion in revenue.

Apple sold 256.9 million iPhones in the quarter—that was better than the Wall Street estimate of 25 million. But sales of 14 million iPads were below analyst estimates of 17 million and the sale of 4.9 million Macs in the quarter lagged Wall Street’s consensus of 5 million.

Gross margins of 40% in the quarter trailed the Wall Street consensus of 40.6% but were significantly above the company’s own guidance for 38.5%.

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