Apple (AAPL) shares were taking a hit after the world's largest company reported mixed fiscal first quarter results and said revenues for the March quarter wouldn't grow compared to last year.
In the quarter, Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones, just below the Wall Street estimate of around 75 million and up just 0.2% year over year. It also shipped 16.1 million iPads, down 25% year over year. Mac unit sales also declined in the quarter, down 4% year over year to 5.3 million units.
Apple saw particular weakness in emerging market economies, with CEO Timothy D. Cook calling out countries such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Southeast Asia, as well as weakness in developed markets, including Japan and Canada. Apple's largest area by revenue, North America, saw a 4% decline year-over-year to $29.33 billion.
Aiding the results, however, was strength in China. Despite extreme stock market weakness and slowing economic growth in the world's largest country, revenue grew 14% year over year in Greater China to $18.37 billion, though the company did cite weakness in Hong Kong, which is also included in the region.
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Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said it expects fiscal second quarter revenue to be between $50 billion and $53 billion, below the $58 billion it generated in the same time frame last year. The world's largest company by market capitalization cited a number of factors, including pent up demand last year for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, noting that iPhone unit sales would decline in the March quarter.
Shares were falling 3.7% to $96.27 in early Wednesday trading.
Here's what Wall Street analysts had to say after the quarter:
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves (Overweight, $132 PT)
"iPhone customers remain extremely loyal, and we believe the extraordinary utility of the smartphone provides room for a superior product to extract excess profits well into the future. This suggests that Apple is likely to continue growing iPhone units over several years at least, and can maintain its gross-margin profile. If this proves accurate, we believe the current multiple of below 5.0x trailing EV/EBITDA will prove to be an attractive entry point.
Although iPhone unit sales are likely to decline in the current cycle, we expect growing replacement volume and a more compelling product in the iPhone 7 cycle to renew unit growth. This should drive profit growth for the company and improve investor sentiment. We expect this to drive AAPL toward our $132 price target."
Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Moskowitz (Overweight, $142 PT)
"Dec-Q results and Mar-Q outlook were not as bad as investors feared. The incremental drag, however, could be Apple's commentary on weak global economic conditions, which could pressure the stock and the broader tech sector in the near term. There were not any major surprises with respect to the Apple model that change our view on the stock - Apple is our Top Pick in IT Hardware. Tough comps for iPhone to start the year and moderating build activity in the supply chain already had investors preparing for a softer trend-line. Next potential catalysts: iPhone 7 prototypes surface in late Mar-Q, expanded capital allocation in Jun-Q, and the lapping of tough comps in 3 months."
Nomura Securities analyst Jeffrey Kvaal (Buy, $135 PT)
"Apple highlighted, repeatedly and perhaps excessively, macro and FX headwinds are pressuring March iPhone units. Our estimates and target decline from $145 to $135, though likely in line with investor expectations. Inventory and sub data suggest - as did Apple - that volumes will improve through 2016. Apple's 74.8mn units were loosely in line with consensus of 75.4mn - and ASPs beat by a touch. Apple guided to sales of $50-$53bn in F2Q. Relative to order cuts of 30-70%, F1Q iPhone sellthrough declines of ~5% and strong ASPs suggest only a modest challenge with the 6s. The soft March quarter drags our FY16 iPhone unit forecast from 234mn to 230mn, and EPS from $9.65 to $9.47."
Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz (Outperform, $120 PT)
"Apple's December revenues and net profit broke historical record. Greater China sales remained strong with 14% Y/Y growth while emerging markets and Europe saw persisting FX headwinds. However, March guidance reflects the iPhone's first quarter of Y/Y decline-as most Street
analysts had feared. We see FY16 as a very challenging year due to macro headwinds in emerging markets and an elongated replacement cycle in developed markets. But we believe growth potential in China and other emerging markets has not been fully realized and will help to strengthen AAPL's 1 billion device installed base. We believe investors' patience will be rewarded, as Apple transitions to a recurring revenue-based model."
Sterne Agee analyst Rob Cihra (Buy, $145 PT)
"Dec-qtr revs $75.9B (+2%Y/Y) <1% below and eps $3.28 (+7%y y)>1% above consensus w/ 75mil iPhones flat vs. last yr's big +46%Y/Y (1mil < our est). GM of 40.1% in line. But Mar-qtr revs/EPS guide the focus and while $50-53B/implied $1.87-2.05 is < consensus $56B/$2.22, we think it's > many fears. Most important, outlook supports our belief this Mar-qtr already looks like the Y/Y trough in iPhone declines. Risk of elongating replacement cycles and China weakness linger but we still forecast Jun/Sep comps starting to recover w/ the prospect iPhone 7 cycling then drives FY17E units back +8-10%Y/Y. Trim FY16 EPS 50c to $8.88 but reit Buy. Knock is AAPL now a trading stock but even if that's the case then buying at the cycle trough makes sense."
Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha (Outperform, $140 PT)
"We maintain our Outperform rating, and adjust our CY EPS estimates to $8.92/$10.20. After much market speculation, Apple finally confirmed that the iPhone business may enter a period of decline with its March quarter guidance. (We continue to see evidence of a subdued iPhone 6s cycle. See our notes Apple: Lower iPhones, adjusting GM, the last cut dated 21 January 2016, Supply chain weakness continues dated 08 January 2016, Supply chain continues to adjust dated 15 December 2015). We believe we now have a handle on the degree of GM erosion over this subdued iPhone cycle. This, we believe, provides a baseline CY EPS estimate of $8.92, meaning incremental downside risk is capped at ~$89. With high retention rates, a superior ecosystem, and multi-product compute advantage and an installed base of 1bn users, we believe Apple provides a sustainable, annuity type FCF of ~$60bn per annum."