Apple Preview: What Wall Street Is Saying

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple (AAPL) reports fiscal first-quarter results after market close with many on Wall Street expecting good things from the tech giant.

Last week, Goldman Sachs increased its Apple price target, pointing to likely first-quarter strength in iPhone and iPads. Goldman analyst Bill Shope also expects Apple to receive a March quarter boost from its recent deal with China Mobile (CHL).

The holiday season is also expected to spell good news for Apple's numbers. Investors will be closely monitoring the first-quarter results to see whether CEO Tim Cook's prediction of an "iPad Christmas" came true.

The Apple feel good factor received another boost last week when Carl Icahn revealed that that he has bought another $500 million worth of Apple stock, taking his total stake to $3.6 billion. In a tweet, the billionaire investor described Apple's value as a "no brainer".

TheStreet's Jim Cramer recently urged investors to stop focusing on what Apple will do with its cash, and start focusing on how well the company's products will do this year.

Apple ended last quarter with $146.76 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm beat analysts' estimates last quarter although the company's shares fell following the results on concerns that the company's gross margin is contracting. Apple forecast a first-quarter gross margin between 36.5% and 37.5%, although this would have been higher were it not for $900 million of deferred revenue.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Apple to post fiscal first-quarter sales of $57.46 billion and earnings of $14.07 a share, up from $54.51 billion and $13.81 in the prior year's quarter.

Here's a snapshot of what analysts expect from Apple:

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