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Apple (AAPL) Tops Q3 Earnings & Revenue Estimates, Services Up 31%

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Apple (AAPL) just came out with quarterly earnings of $2.34 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.17 per share. This compares to earnings of $1.67 per share a year ago. These figures are adjusted for non-recurring items.

This quarterly report represents an earnings surprise of 7.83%. A quarter ago, it was expected that this maker of iPhones, iPads and other products would post earnings of $2.69 per share when it actually produced earnings of $2.73, delivering a surprise of 1.49%.

Over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates four times.

Apple, which belongs to the Zacks Computer - Mini computers industry, posted revenues of $53.27 billion for the quarter ended June 2018, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.71%. This compares to year-ago revenues of $45.41 billion. The company has topped consensus revenue estimates four times over the last four quarters.

iPhone & Services

Apple’s total iPhone unit sales hit 41.300 million, which marked a roughly 1% climb from the 41.026 million smartphones Apple sold in the year-ago quarter. iPhone unit sales climbed by approximately 3% in Apple’s fiscal Q2 to touch 52.217 million.

Apple’s total iPhone revenues are surged 20% to $29.906 billion in Q3. Investors will note the significant difference between total unit sales growth and iPhone revenue expansion illuminates just how much the high-priced iPhone X has helped Apple. Last quarter, iPhone revenues hit $38.032 billion, which represented a 14% climb.

Apple’s growing Services business, which features iTunes, AppleCare, Apple Pay, and Apple Music, saw its revenues climb by 31% to hit $9.548 billion. Last quarter, Services revenues also jumped by 31% to reach $9.190 billion.

Looking ahead, Apple now expects to post fiscal fourth-quarter revenues between $60 billion and $62 billion, which tops our current $58.66 billion estimate.

Apple saw its stock price pop 2.37% to hit $194.80 per share as of 3:47 p.m. Eastern.

The sustainability of the stock's immediate price movement based on the recently-released numbers and future earnings expectations will mostly depend on management's commentary on the earnings call.

Apple shares have added about 12.2% since the beginning of the year versus the S&P 500's gain of 4.8%.

What's Next for Apple?

While Apple has outperformed the market so far this year, the question that comes to investors' minds is: what's next for the stock?

There are no easy answers to this key question, but one reliable measure that can help investors address this is the company's earnings outlook. Not only does this include current consensus earnings expectations for the coming quarter(s), but also how these expectations have changed lately.

Empirical research shows a strong correlation between near-term stock movements and trends in earnings estimate revisions. Investors can track such revisions by themselves or rely on a tried-and-tested rating tool like the Zacks Rank, which has an impressive track record of harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions.

Ahead of this earnings release, the estimate revisions trend for Apple was favorable. While the magnitude and direction of estimate revisions could change following the company's just-released earnings report, the current status translates into a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) for the stock. So, the shares are expected to outperform the market in the near future. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

It will be interesting to see how estimates for the coming quarters and current fiscal year change in the days ahead. The current consensus EPS estimate is $2.60 on $58.66 billion in revenues for the coming quarter and $11.41 on $260.36 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year.

Investors should be mindful of the fact that the outlook for the industry can have a material impact on the performance of the stock as well. In terms of the Zacks Industry Rank, Computer - Mini computers is currently in the top 20% of the 250 plus Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

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