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Apple Stock Tumbles As Chip Shortage Clips $6 Billion From Q4 Sales In Rare Earnings Miss

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the global chip shortage clipped Apple sales by as much as $6 billion over the three months ending in September.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Free Report shares slumped lower Friday after the tech giant said supply chain woes ripped $6 billion from its September quarter sales amid the tech giant's first quarterly earnings miss in five years.

Apple said profits for the three months ending in September, the tech giant's fiscal fourth quarter, were pegged at $1.24 per share, up 70% from the same period last year and bang in line with the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Apple said, rose 29% from last year to $83.4 billion, just shy of analysts' estimates of an $84.8 billion tally.

Apple said iPhone revenues rose 47% from last year to $38.9 billion, well below the $41.5 billion Street forecast.

Greater China revenues, Apple said, rose 83% from last year's pandemic hit period to $14.56 billion, while overall services revenues rose 26.6% to $18.28 billion as the company's installed base of devices topped 1.65 billion.

"Strength in Services & iPad/Mac were bright spots and highlight the value of Apple’s broader ecosystem, while a clear read-thru to sustainability of iPhone momentum in year two of the 5G cycle will be difficult until supply disruptions abate," said Credit Suisse analyst Dan Knauff. "We’re confident in the durability of unfilled demand and also continue watching the impact of aggressive US carrier promotions vs. our base case that remains for upgrade rates/mix to normalize as pent-up demand from tech-savvy early buyers gives way to more mainstream 5G adoption."

Apple shares were marked 3.5% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $147.30 each.

Apple's holiday quarter sales will also be hit by the chip shortage, Cook said, telling Reuters that "we're doing everything we can do to get more (chips) and also everything we can do operationally to make sure we're moving just as fast as possible."

Still, CFO Luca Maestri told investors on a conference call that December quarter sales would be "very solid", and likely hit a record high, with gross margins in the region of 41.5% to 42.5%. 

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest chipmaker and handset rival to Apple, said Thursday that while there is "much uncertainty due to various macro issues including the effect of 'back-to-normal', component supply and raw material price hikes ...  component supply issues seem to stem more from mismatches in supply chain management rather than from an absolute lack of supply" and suggested the situation could improve by the second half of next year.

Earlier this month, however, Bloomberg News reported that Apple could slash production by as much as 10 million units , taking the overall end-of-year total to around 80 million units, as a result of delays from major supplies such as Broadcom  (AVGO) - Get Free Report and Texas Instruments  (TXN) - Get Free Report.

Apple launched its new iPhone 13 last month with a base price of $799, while unveiling higher-priced versions including the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Max,

Credit Suisse noted earlier this week that wait times for the new handsets "remain extended across the board" and include the longest gap between order and delivery for at least four years.