Apple’s Magic Wears Thin as Its Earnings Disappoint

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. AAPL -10.67% recorded a flat profit despite selling 18 million more iPhones and iPads, as it spent heavily to roll out new products to fend off intensifying competition. Spooked investors erased nearly $47 billion from the company’s stock-market value in after-hours trading, about as much as the combined worth of Dell Inc., DELL +0.23%Nokia Corp. NOK1V.HE -9.92% and Research In Motion Ltd. RIM.T -2.48%

The flat earnings in the holiday quarter come after several years of supercharged growth that made Apple the most valuable U.S. company and fan worries about the Silicon Valley giant’s momentum and demand for its new devices. Apple executives predicted growth would continue to slow. The company expects revenue to rise about 7% in the current period after reporting an 18% gain in the holiday quarter.

Apple said it sold 47.8 million iPhones, up from 37 million from the year-earlier period and below some analyst expectations. The fiscal first quarter began soon after the release of the iPhone 5 and Apple’s new mapping software, and encompassed the debut of the iPad Mini, a smaller tablet carrying an equally slimmer price tag. Apple said it sold 22.9 million iPads, up about 48% from last year and roughly in line with some analyst expectations.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, Apple reported a profit of $13.08 billion, up from $13.06 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings fell to $13.81 from $13.87 a share as the latest period had slightly more shares outstanding. Revenue rose to $54.5 billion from $46.3 billion.

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