Apple's iPhone Silences Doubters: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There was an earnings explosion this week thanks to tech titans such as Apple ( AAPL), Amazon ( AMZN), Netflix ( NFLX) and AT&T ( T), with Apple, of course, getting most of the attention.

Apple reported earnings that shattered expectations on Tuesday, and set aside any fears about a slowdown in iPhone sales.

During its fiscal second quarter, Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones, 11.8 million iPads, 4 million Macs and 7.7 million iPods. Investors and analysts had been concerned that sales would slow, given possible supply constraints and an aging iPhone.

The technology giant noted, however, that iPhone sales grew 88% year over year, with sales more than doubling in Asia. iPhone sales in Greater China rose five times year over year, CEO Tim Cook said, during the Apple conference call. "We are happy with the iPhone pricing moves we made a few months ago on iPhone 3G, iPhone 4," he explained.

Quarterly earnings came in at $12.30 a share on $39.2 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected EPS of $10.02 on revenue of $36.69 billion. Some $22.7 billion of revenue was from the iPhone, now available in more than 100 countries and on 230 carriers.

Apple's increased reliance on China led several analysts to raise price targets and upgrade the stock, as it continued to surpass analysts' expectations.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm also announced it would hold its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 11, with a big focus on software.

"We have a great WWDC planned this year and can't wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a press release. "The iOS platform has created an entirely new industry with fantastic opportunities for developers across the country and around the world."

Shares of Apple jumped 5.24% on the week to finish at $603.

Amazon shares jumped on Friday after the company reported strong first-quarter revenue growth and stabilizing operating margins.

The Seattle-based Internet giant reported quarterly EPS of 28 cents on $13.2 billion in revenue on Thursday, up 34% year over year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected Amazon to report EPS of 7 cents on $12.9 billion in revenue.

Amazon's margins, investors' biggest worry going into the quarter, came in at 1.45%, in line with the fourth quarter's 1.5%.

Amazon shares soared 19.4% this week to finish at $226.85.

Netflix took a hit as the movie-streaming company said it expects weak streaming additions in the current quarter, despite reporting strong first-quarter earnings on Monday.

Due to increased seasonality, Netflix expects net additions to be below 2010's level. The company said it expects to have between 23.6 million and 24.2 million subscribers, implying growth between 200,000 and 800,000 streaming subscribers.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based firm expects second-quarter revenue to be between $873 million and $895 million, with the midpoint below the $895.11 million in revenue analysts are expecting.

Netflix announced it lost 8 cents a share on $870 million in revenue, better than the 27-cent-a-share loss and $866.93 million in revenue Wall Street was expecting.

Netflix shares fell 21.08% this week to finish at $83.74.

Sirius XM ( SIRI) was in the news this week when star talent Howard Stern announced he was appealing his case against his employer, as he believes he's owed an additional $300 million in stock awards.

New York Judge Barbara Kapnick previously dismissed and ruled "with prejudice," saying Stern's contract had "clear, unambiguous language" and, as such, he was not entitled to any further compensation. Stern believed he was owed an additional $300 million for lost stock awards, subject to subscriber thresholds, when he signed his initial deal in 2005.

Stern and his manager Don Buchwald argued that he had surpassed the expectations when Sirius merged with XM Satellite Radio in 2008.

Shares of Sirius lost 0.67% on the week to finish at $2.21.

Despite not being public yet, social networking giant Facebook made waves for three reasons: Revenue growth is slowing; its long-awaited IPO may be pushed back; and it's beefing up its patent portfolio.

Revenue fell 6% sequentially from $1.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $1.06 billion in the first quarter of 2012, the company said in its amended S-1 filing on Monday.

Year-over-year revenue growth slowed, with revenue growing 45% from the first quarter of 2011. That's down from the 154% yearly growth Facebook saw from 2009 to 2010, and the 88% growth the company saw from 2010 to 2011.

Facebook, long expected to go public sometime in May, may now be forced to push back its IPO to June because of recent deal activity, according to CNBC.

A potential delay could be prompted by both the recent Instagram acquisition and a $550 million purchase of patents from Microsoft ( MSFT).

Zynga ( ZNGA) reported a 32% increase in revenue when it reported first-quarter results on Thursday, but losses accelerated due to rising costs.

On a GAAP basis, Zynga reported a loss of $85.4 million, or 12 cents a share, down from net income of $16.8 million in the same period last year. Zynga said that $133.9 million of stock-based expense was included in the net loss for the March quarter, compared to $14.5 million in the prior year's quarter.

Excluding items, however, Zynga reported EPS of 6 cents on $321 million in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for EPS of 5 cents on sales of $317.3 million.

Shares of Zynga closed the week down 7.59% at $8.52.

AT&T ( T) beat analysts' first-quarter earnings estimates on Tuesday, thanks in part to strong wireless sales and its smartphone business.

AT&T generated EPS of 60 cents, better than the 57 cents Wall Street was looking for. Revenue came in at $31.82 billion, slightly less than the $31.85 billion average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Wireless revenue, including equipment sales, came in at $16.1 billion. Wireless data revenue climbed 19.9% to $6.1 billion.

The Dow component noted that both Android and iPhone sales remain strong, with 4.3 million iPhones activated during the quarter.

Shares of AT&T gained 5.87% during the week to close at $32.67.

Shares of Symantec ( SYMC) fell sharply Tuesday after the Internet security stalwart reported weaker-than-expected preliminary fourth-quarter results.

Symantec said it now expects fourth-quarter EPS of 38 cents on $1.68 billion in revenue. That's down from the company's previous guidance of between 41 cents and 42 cents a share. Revenue was expected to come in between $1.72 billion and $1.73 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 42 cents a share on sales of $1.73 billion.

Shares of Symantec slid 9.2% during the week to end at $16.48.

Tech titan IBM ( IBM) announced it would be returning even more cash to shareholders in the form of a bigger dividend and buyback on Tuesday, in the face of flattening sales.

The New York-based technology software and services company, which reported mixed first-quarter earnings last week, said it would raise its quarterly dividend to 85 cents a share, and buy back an additional $7 billion in stock. It currently has $5.7 billion left under an existing buyback program.

Shares of IBM rose 3.6% during the week to finish at $206.81.

Texas Instruments ( TXN) helped lead chip stocks higher, reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results on Monday, citing signs of growth.

Despite lowering guidance just last month, the semiconductor company earned 32 cents a share on $3.12 billion in revenue. Analysts were looking for 29 cents a share on $3.06 billion in revenue.

Second-quarter guidance was also better than forecasts. Texas Instruments expects to generate between $3.22 billion and $3.48 billion in sales for the quarter, compared to analysts' forecast of $3.29 billion. The company also expects earnings between 30 cents and 38 cents a share, excluding charges of 6 cents a share related to restructuring and acquisitions. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 40 cents a share.

Shares of Texas Instruments finished lower during the week, down 0.92% to close at $32.17.

Akamai Technologies ( AKAM) plunged despite reporting better-than-expected first quarter earnings and a new $150 million buyback on Wednesday, as CEO Paul Sagan said he was leaving the company by the end of 2013.

The content delivery network specialist reported first-quarter non-GAAP earnings of 41 cents a share on $319 million in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 38 cents a share on $310.45 million in revenue.

Sagan is stepping down from the company after being appointed president in 1999 and becoming CEO in 2005.

Shares of Akamai plunged 11.3% this week to $33.18.

Next week the excitement continues with earnings from ( PCLN) and LinkedIn ( LNKD), among others.

The second major week of earnings is over, and just like last week, most of us are looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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