First period 2021 earnings season for US-based companies unofficially starts in mid-April. The iPhone maker has not yet scheduled its fiscal second quarter earnings date, but it is likely that it will take place between April 27th and April 29th.
Wall Street has started to weigh in on how they believe Apple will perform in the January-to-March quarter. Below is a summary of sell-side expectations, along with analysts’ consensus opinion on Apple stock.
Strong growth expected
Among the 30 Wall Street experts tracked by Stock Rover, consensus expectation is for revenues in the March quarter to grow by an impressive 32% year-over-year (see first table below). Should the estimate be met, this will be Apple’s best quarter of sales in at least five years, if not much longer.
The robust top-line results would be achieved, in part, due to easy comps. Fiscal second quarter of 2020 was marked by the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, when the first lockdowns caused Apple stores to close in the US and abroad, and consumers pulled back on spending. In the March 2020 period, Apple’s revenues increased by less than 1%.
But because Apple did not provide guidance for fiscal second quarter 2021, due to pandemic uncertainties, analyst estimates have been all over the place. For example, the most optimistic expert sees revenues growing 43%. The least optimistic believes in a much tamer 21% increase.
On the bottom line, Apple’s earnings per share is projected to land just short of $1. If achieved, the EPS increase over fiscal 2020 levels would be a very respectable 53%. Earnings that grow faster than revenues largely suggest some margin expansion and share retirement as well.
Wall Street on Apple Stock
Looking more broadly at recommendations and share price targets, Wall Street continues to have a very bullish view on Apple stock. See charts below.
The great majority of analysts sees Apple stock as a strong buy. The consensus price target is roughly $150 per share, which suggests nearly 20% upside to current levels. Following two years of 80%-plus returns, another round of double-digit gains would not be bad at all.
Judging by the consensus opinion, sell-side shops seem excited about Apple stock in general, and about the company’s fiscal second period results more specifically. However, could analysts be painting an overly rosy picture of Apple’s post-holiday quarter? Or will Apple meet the expectations?
I asked Twitter for some help on these questions.
Explore more data and graphs
The data used in this report was provided by Stock Rover. I have been impressed with the breadth and depth of information on markets, stocks and ETFs that this platform provides. Stock Rover also helps to set up detailed filters, track custom portfolios and measure their performance relative to a number of benchmarks.
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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)