Given Apple's track record of handily beating expectations, its overall size, and the general nervous market environment we're currently in, it's perhaps understandable that bloggers and market watchers generally freaked out over the results.
There's a perception of a big miss from these results and even bulls like me have to acknowledge there was. It certainly was very unusual.
That said, I don't think it's a big deal. Here's why.Apple still had 20% growth year-over-year in earnings instead of the 80% to 100% that folks now expect. And Europe -- especially the sick countries of France, Spain, and Italy -- were flat on their backs. Even Germany was very weak relative to the rest of the world. I do think it's interesting when Apple blows out earnings the bears say that it's completely disconnected from the rest of the market, but when it misses earnings they shout that it's going to take the whole market down. Guess that's just what happens when you're the biggest company in the world growing at Apple's rate. But let's clear up one misperception making the rounds after the results came out Tuesday: Apple has never missed estimates before. Really? Apple's last big "miss" like this was its fiscal Q4 2011 -- i.e., last October. This isn't unprecedented. At that time, Apple fell short as folks eased up on the throttle of iPhone buying, waiting for the 4S to be released. When the miss came out, the stock dropped from $422 to $392 a few days later -- a 7% decline. Yet, five weeks later, the stock got down to $363 amid the general market uncertainty (as well as lots of folks worrying that the quarter was a harbinger of more problems to come for Apple). This drop represented a 14% decline from its pre-earnings level. A 14% decline from Tuesday's close would take it down to $516. But, don't forget that, from late November ($363) to early April ($644), Apple's stock increased 77%. At least in this case, it was darkest before the dawn.