Apple Tops Expectations, As Usual

by Michael Goodman | July 19, 2011 5:00 pm

To say that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL[1]) blew away Wall Street’s expectations for the company’s fiscal third-quarter results is to embarrass any previous usage of that hyperbolic phrase.

Let’s put it this way: when you beat analysts’ consensus revenue estimates by about three-and-a-half billion dollars, things are probably going your way.

Apple said late Tuesday that its profit more than tripled to $7.31 billion, or $7.79 a share, from $3.25 billion, or $3.51 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue exploded by 82% (yes, eight-two) to $28.6 billion from $15.7 billion a year earlier.

The Wall Street consensus, always cunningly higher than Apple’s own relatively milquetoast forecast, had called for earnings of $5.84 a share on revenue of a shade under $25 billion.

It is to laugh — especially if you’re a shareholder. After the stock climbed more than 17% in the past month to hit an all-time high on Tuesday, the stock jumped 6% in after-hours trading to cross the $400 level.

The company’s success came largely from his two biggest hits: Apple sold 20.3 million iPhones during the quarter, and 9.3 million iPads, outperforming Wall Street’s expectations on those products by 21% and 17%, respectively. In addition, the supply issues that hampered the company’s results three months ago appear to be extinct.

Sales of the company’s Mac computers, however, could be the only thing close to a black eye in Apple’s report: it sold 3.95 million Macs, below forecasts for 4.2 million.

Add those totals up – along with the iPod music devices that Wall Street no longer cares about – and Apple’s margins also performed admirably, coming in at 41.7% and beating the consensus expectation of 39.2%.

The company’s fourth-quarter forecast, which is not to be taken seriously, calls for earnings of $5.50 a share on revenue of $25 billion.

Something tells me they’ll beat that.

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