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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Apple's 3Q earnings sag, but top Street estimates

AP  San Francisco, July 24, 2013
First Published: 03:25 IST(24/7/2013) | Last Updated: 04:48 IST(24/7/2013)

Apple's latest quarterly report confirms the iPhone maker's growth has stalled along with its pace of innovation.

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The results announced Tuesday mark the second straight quarter that Apple Inc.'s earnings have fallen from the previous year after a decade of steadily rising profits. The company earned $6.9 billion, or $7.47 per share, in its fiscal third quarter, a 22 % drop from $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per share.

Despite the erosion, Apple fared slightly better than analysts had anticipated. That helped lift Apple's stock by $22.01, or more than 5 %, to $441 in extended trading after the financial results came out. The shares remain down by more than 35 % since the latest model of the iPhone came out 10 months ago.

Apple's revenue for the three months ending June 29 barely budged from last year. That's the smallest revenue increase since the Cupertino, California company unleashed a mobile computing revolution with the iPhone's debut six years ago.

Apple hasn't released another breakthrough product since the iPad came out three years ago, raising concerns the company has lost its touch since the October 2011 death of founder Steve Jobs.

The earnings topped the average estimate of $7.31 per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue totaled $35.3 billion versus $35 billion a year ago. Analysts had projected that revenue would be unchanged from a year ago.

As usual, Apple was propelled by its iPhone sales. The company sold 31.2 million units in the quarter, a 20 % increase from the same time year ago.

But many people were evidently buying the earlier generations of the smartphone, which cost less than the latest model and generate smaller profit margins for the company. IPhones sold for an average of $581 in the past quarter, down from an average of $608 a year ago.

The same phenomenon squeezed Apple's profits with the iPad. To make matters worse, the company sold 14 % fewer tablets - 14.6 million in the past quarter compared with 17 million a year ago.

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