Apple announced Tuesday record revenue for its December quarter of US$78.4 billion, as well as record earnings per share (EPS) of $3.36. That’s up from $75.9 billion in revenue in the year-ago quarter with EPS of $3.28. Actual earnings were down year over year to $17.9 billion, but share buybacks resulted in the increase in EPS.
The company said it returned a staggering $15 billion to shareholders during the quarter in the form of stock buybacks and dividends. That dividend remains at $0.57 per share. All told, Apple has returned some $200 billion to shareholders since it began its current shareholder return program.
Apple had guided for revenues between $76 and $78 billion, with gross margins between 38-38.5%. Consensus estimates from Wall Street were $77.4 billion for revenue and earnings per share (EPS) of $3.22.
iPhone Sales Return to Growth
Apple said iPhone sales returned to growth during the quarter, with sales of 78.2 million units. iPhone’s average selling price (ASP) was lifted from $691 to $695 on the strength of increased iPhone 7 Plus performance.
iPads and Macs
iPad unit sales declined 19% to 13 million units, while Mac sales were up 1%. That last bit is mixed news as it means Apple returned to Mac growth, but only barely, and despite a long, long, long overdue update to its MacBook Pro line.
Apple provided guidance for the second quarter of revenue between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion, with gross margins between 38 percent and 39 percent. The company is expecting operating expenses between $6.5 billion and $6.6 billion, and a tax rate of 26 percent.
Shares of $AAPL traded slightly lower Tuesday, ending the day at $121.35 per share, down $0.28 (-0.23%), on heavy volume of 43.4 million shares trading hands. Investors greeted Tuesday’s earnings enthusiastically in the opening minutes of the after hours sessions, sending the stock higher to $124.58, up 3.23 (+2.66%).
Apple will stream its quarterly call with analysts live, and The Mac Observer will provide detailed coverage of any developments from that call.
More details to follow.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.