March 2021 is coming to an end and, with it, Apple’s fiscal second quarter.
In a matter of a few weeks, the Cupertino company will be releasing the results of the post-holiday period. The event can be meaningful for the stock, since Apple’s earnings date often serves as a catalyst to send the share price either higher or lower.
What is Apple’s earnings date?
Apple has not yet announced details of the fiscal second quarter event. However, history tells us that results should come out between April 27th and April 29th, likely on Tuesday or Thursday.
The press release usually crosses the wires after the closing bell, at around 4:30 p.m. EST. The earnings call follows about half an hour later, at 5 p.m. New York City time.
For the past three years (i.e. 12 quarters), Apple’s earnings dates have been distributed as follows:
- Six times on Tuesday; twice on Wednesday; and four times on Thursday
- Nine times during the last week of the month immediately following the end of the quarter; three times in the very first day of the following month.
Beating vs. lagging estimates
When a company reports earnings, investors pay attention to how close the financial results have been to Wall Street’s consensus. This is a crucial factor in determining what happens to the share price after earnings day.
Apple usually provides earnings guidance three months prior to releasing its results – although this has not happened since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, the Cupertino company “sets its own bar”, and it usually does so conservatively.
Partly for this reason, Apple has topped revenue and EPS (earnings per share) expectations every single quarter since early 2017. The widest top- and bottom-line beats came in the most recent quarter, when the iPhone 12 helped to push results through the roof in the 2020 holiday quarter.
Share price behavior after earnings
Over the past few years at least, Apple stock price has moved more noticeably after the company’s earnings date.
The graph below shows the average daily returns in AAPL in the two weeks following the release of Apple’s financial results compared to all other days. Share price increased, on average, three times as much after earnings. Remember that, in all cases, Apple topped analysts’ estimates.
To be clear, the chart above does not imply that Apple stock will likely rise after earnings. This has been the case recently. However, worse-than-expected financial performance going forward could just as well send shares in the other direction.
Just for fun, I proposed a pop quiz on Twitter: how many times has Apple failed to meet Wall Street’s estimated earnings recently? Below are the answers.
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(Disclaimers: this is not investment advice. The author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting The Apple Maven)