Great News, Big Money, Etc. (4/13/05)

Okay, see, now that's more like it. When Apple announced its stunningly fantabulous Q1 earnings three months ago, we were more than a little alarmed to see the company's stock price actually go up in after-hours trading; everyone knows that whenever Apple beats analyst estimates and does better than anyone expected, its stock price traditionally drops a few points in an inexplicable but comfortingly familiar display of what leading economists have termed "wacky non-logic." So we're actually strangely relieved that AAPL shed another 44 cents after the bell tonight, despite the company reporting its best March quarter ever. It's just like coming home again.

But how 'bout them results, hmmm? According to Apple's official press release, the company raked in $290 million in net profits; that's over six times as much as it made in the year-ago quarter-- and just a hair shy of last quarter's best-ever numbers, despite the conspicuous lack of a Christmas in March. Moreover, it's a whopping 40ish percent better than the analyst consensus, and even over 13 percent higher than the most optimistic analyst prediction. Meanwhile, revenue followed suit, increasing by roughly 70 percent from a year ago to a hefty $3.24 billion.

And the good news just keeps on coming. There's far too much to cram it all in here, but a few highlights include 5.31 million iPods sold (yes, even more than last quarter's record-shattering holiday blowout); gross margins that, despite the introduction of low-cost offerings like the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle, went up instead of down; more Macs sold last quarter than in any other quarter in the past four years; over 60 percent growth in Japan and Europe; the best March quarter for education sales in half a decade; 70 percent U.S. market share for the iPod family, with the shuffle leading the flash pack with a 43 percent slice of the pie; and a cash stockpile that's now grown to over $7 billion, which means that Apple can finally buy Stefan Quandt! (Apparently the guy lives in Bad Homburg; with that much money, you'd think he'd at least move to Good Homburg.) All pretty nifty news for a Q2, seeing as the post-holiday quarter has always been Apple's weakest.

But if you're still hungry for some sort of vaguely comprehensible explanation as to why AAPL actually dropped following all this great news, Reuters has the goods: it's all about the next quarterly results. Apparently Wall Street dumped some shares because Apple's "revenue forecast for the current quarter was largely in line with Wall Street expectations rather than exceeding them." That's right, folks; the analysts were predicting $3.21 billion, and Apple said it'll probably pull in $3.25 billion instead. Why, that's only a piddling $40 million more than anyone expected! Never mind that Apple's guidance for actual profit is also over $32 million higher than the analysts had been predicting-- sell! SELL!!

Of course, all you folks are really waiting for is the announcement of the winner in our quarterly Beat The Analysts contest, so without further ado, we'd like to extend our congratulations to faithful viewer Charlie, whose guess of a Q2 profit of $289 million wasn't right on the money, but it was the earliest closest entry, so he takes home all the marbles. We'll be contacting him shortly about showering him in fabulous prizes. As for the rest of you, you beat the Street almost as much as Apple did; the analyst consensus was off by almost $94 million, while the BTA consensus (i.e. the average of all 368 entries) was $301.73 million-- far closer than the number those suits got paid to pull out of thin air. Ever considered a career in financial analysis?

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The above scene was taken from the 4/13/05 episode:

April 13, 2005: Apple beats the Street yet again-- and the Street beats back. Meanwhile, the rumor mill is abuzz with whispers of new Power Macs slated for an intro at next week's NAB show, and Apple offers $30 back by mail to new subscribers of .Mac...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 5235: G5: Getting Off The Sauce (4/13/05)   Okay, enough with the numbers game-- too much "gross margins" and "EPS guidance" and "net thingy per diluted whosis" always leaves us with a headache. We're really just not built to dwell on financial data like that; we'd much rather be daydreaming about new Power Macs just around the corner...

  • 5236: Oooh, We Feel So DIRTY (4/13/05)   Still not a member of .Mac? Well, we can't exactly say we're surprised; most people think of the service primarily as an email account and web space, which they consider to be grossly overpriced at $99.95 per year-- and if that were really all .Mac had to offer, we'd have to agree, especially considering the periodic complaints from users about .Mac email's reliability (or notorious lack thereof)...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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