Thursday, April 22, 2010

More On Apple's Blowout Earnings

As promised, here is my coverage of Apple's conference call, and my thoughts on the stock, from article:

Apple (AAPL) reported another stunning quarter. EPS beat estimates by 88 cents, coming in at $3.33, which represents 86% growth vs. a year ago. Revenue also beat consensus by well over $1 billion, coming in at $13.50 billion (up 49%). Gross margins were also very strong, rising to 41.7%, due to a favorable mix of more iPhones sold.

The number of iPhones sold was outstanding. The company sold 8.75 million iPhones (up 131%), which are more units than it sold during the holiday quarter in the fourth quarter. That is pretty amazing. Macs also came in above estimates with 2.94 million units sold (up 33%). And iPods were the strongest they have been in two years, with 10.89 million units sold (down 1%).

Getting back to iPhones, demand was very strong but led by extremely robust international growth. Asia-Pacific was the strongest region, and iPhones are now being sold at 151 carriers in 88 countries. Average selling prices declined a bit, to roughly $600. The new operating system (OS4) is coming this summer and contains 100 new features. With the rumors today of a new form factor coming as well, I expect iPhone demand to remain strong.

Macs had a record in terms of units sold in a second quarter. The company is comfortable with channel inventories and recently updated its Macbook Pro. iPods were also surprisingly strong, led by the iTouches (up 63%). iTunes had its best quarter ever, and the app store now has over 185,000 apps for sale.

In terms of the iPad, management said it was "shocked" by how strong demand was. It wanted to price the product aggressively to capture strong, early market share. Demand was so strong that the company had to delay the international launch, but it expects to be in nine countries in May. And the 3G version in the U.S. will be released April 30. I believe the iPad is going to be a big product segment for Apple and realize that it may weigh on gross margins in the near term.

Guidance was strong, factoring in the normal ultra-conservative practice of lowering EPS expectations. Management guided third-quarter EPS to $2.28-$2.39, the midpoint of which is roughly 12% below current Street estimates, which is normal. Revenue guidance of $13.0 billion to $13.4 billion is above current consensus estimates. Gross margins are forecast to decline near 36%, due in part to the lower margin impact of the iPad, as well as the start of the educational selling season. And the tax rate is expected to rise to 27% (it was 24% this quarter).

Overall, the company once again displayed superb execution and exceeded expectations on just about every front. Demand for its products remains white hot, and in the press release Steve Jobs said, "We have several more extraordinary products in the pipeline for this year."

So the innovations are not over, and neither is the growth for this company. Earnings estimates will continue to climb higher, and I feel compelled to raise my $300 price target I established last year to at least $325 by year-end, which is still a reasonable valuation for this great company.

long AAPL


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