Barkese Dalton - The Street Awaits Apple's Earnings Forecast

Published: 22nd October 2009
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What's Wall St expecting this quarter? The 22 researchers we polled are all over the lot

Merck, McDonalds, Microsoft, Boeing, Coca Cola, Dupont and AT&T are among the bellwether corporations reporting takings the week after next, but when the markets close on Mon., all eyes will be on Apple ( AAPL ). Barkese Dalton
Wall Street blows hot and cold on Cupertino. Apple opened lower in early-morning trading Mon. and did not turn positive till just before noon, but for the year the firm's shares have been on fire. The stock has rocketed more than 120% since January, overtaking the DJX by just about nine to one and leaving researchers scurrying to keep up. Nearly all have altered their guesstimates in advance of monday's report, some rather dramatically ( one of them raised his price target from $70 a share to $250 in the space of seven months ).
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Apple researchers scramble to catch up

With the stock hovering within ten points of its all time high ( $202 per share, set nearly two years ago ), the question for many traders is whether it has much further to go - which is one of the reasons they'll be closely watching monday's takings report.
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The Street is looking for Apple to earn $1.42 a share on turnover of $9.2 bill, according to Thomson money's agreement, though the revenue guesstimates of the 20 analysts we polled went from $8.37 billion to $9.72. ( See chart beneath the fold.

the biggest discrepancy in the chart below is the column showing conjectured iPhone unit sales. Since June, when Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS and lowered the iPhone 3G's price to $99, the company hasn't been ready to make the things quick enough to meet demand. Barkese Dalton

whether or not that is excellent news or bad is still to be seen. The bears predict unit sales in the range of 5.2 million to 6.0 million. If the numbers are that low, you can expect the stock to get clobbered in after-hours trading.

Another number to look at Mon. Not each analyst publishes non-GAAP money numbers, but those that do are attempting to find them to come in somewhere between $10.4 billion and $11.65 billion. Anything more than $11 bn. - although that is's less than the'truly stunning' $11.68 bill Steve roles reported last year when deferred income for the first $599 iPhones were still pouring in - would probably be considered a pretty robust showing.
Apple's gap is closing quickly

Finally, there's Apple's direction to think about, which as normal is anybody's guess. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, for one, is expecting Apple's predictions for the December quarter to be typically conservative. He is's searching for them call for earnings-per-share around $1.68 ( 12% below the Street's $1.91 consensus ) on money of $10.98 bill ( 4% below the Street's $11.44 bln ).

A guide to Apple's guidance
Apple was up a little in midday trading, reflecting rising sentiment as measured by Piqqem's crowd-sourcing prophecy model. The company's shares had closed friday at $188.05, down 2.51 points ( 1.32% ), and slid another 0.45% in after-hours trading. Traders may have been spooked by one analyst's report - given outstanding play on satellite TV Fri.
Below : The published guesstimates of 19 professional analysts - updated to include several reports issued monday morning - and three closely-watched independents. To find out who was nearest to the mark, check in here after the markets close.

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