FactSet polled analysts who said they estimated Q3 earnings would come in at $1.40 per share, down 24% from the same period a year ago. Revenue is expected to be down 15% at $42.1 billion making this Apple’s second consecutive quarterly sales decline.
Weak iPhone Sales
Since more than half of Apple’s revenue comes from iPhone sales, the fact those sales are down could explain the lack of enthusiasm by analysts. In addition, the iPad isn’t exactly killing it and public has not rendered a final verdict on the Apple Watch.
All this helps explain depressed sales but does it forecast Apple’s future? There’s an acceptance that the iPhone sales drought is priced in to analyst expectations and general consensus that the next iPhone upgrade will not be a major one.
On The Other Hand
The company plans to spend $250 billion on dividends and buybacks by March 2018. That investment alone would boost EPS and yield. Apple’s current 2.3% dividend yield already exceeds the 10-year Treasury yield.
Apple is a very profitable company. It posted $10.52 billion profit in the March quarter, a number easily beat the combined profits of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGA), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZNB) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FBC).
Apple Versus Google
One theory supporting Apple’s innovative spirit speaks to a strategy built on depriving Google of its chief source of revenue – search. To that end, Apple’s search strategy makes one assumption – that consumers will prefer context-based search where they trust the relevance ranking.
Over time Apple is expected to adopt 4 moves: Apple Pay on the Web, single-sing-on (SSO) across the apple ecosystem, Siri voice intents and finally native ad and content blocker on Safari, effectively shutting Google out of the system.
Should You Short Apple?
Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says investors should short apple and go long Samsung.
According to Garney, “Samsung is accelerating in sales and market share because of the Samsung’s Edge 7 and its great pick-up in Asia. At the same time, Apple’s market share has declined – the tide has changed.”
Although Apple has huge cash reserves, critics charge it doesn’t have much else – especially with regard to fresh ideas. The idea vacuum, those same critics say, has been noticed by competitors like Samsung who have jumped in.
Whether a real plan to cripple Google’s search, a better iPhone, or something else will emerge to show Apple’s ingenuity, is the question. If only the answer were easy.