A big Q3 is a given. Just look at what the stock has done lately. But the devil is in the details
The Street has fallen back in love with Apple AAPL . “Get ready for the return of the wow factor,” J.P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz told clients last week just before the stock put the finishing touches on a 28-day, $58.48 (18.5%) run that took it to $373.80 Monday afternoon, an all-time record close.
The impetus for this recent infatuation, of course, is the earnings report due out this afternoon. Revised estimates from analysts have been piling in so quickly that the aggregators can hardly keep up. As of Tuesday morning Thomson Reuters still had the consensus calling for earnings of $5.80 on sales of $24.92 billion. Recent estimates, however, have been much higher. Moskowitz expects Apple to report earnings of $6.58 on sales of $27.42 billion, up 87% and 75%, respectively. Some of the independent analysts we’ve been tracking are even more bullish. See here.
Although Apple almost always beats the consensus, nothing is certain. It could still surprise Wall Street — positively or negatively — in the details of its report.
Here are the numbers we’ll be watching.
Ticonderoga’s Brian White issued a note Tuesday morning telling clients that “Apple holds the hottest hand in the tech world” and he expects the rally to continue. J.P. Morgan’s options trading desk issued a report Monday advising clients to buy the $365 August calls, presumably hoping to collect some extra revenue on the shares it snapped up in June, when Apple was going for as little as $310.50 a share. Apple opened at $377.92 Tuesday, up $4.12. But be forewarned: speculating on this stock is a mug’s game. As often as not traders buy on the rumor and sell on the news.
Apple usually reports its earnings about a half-hour after the markets close. A conference call with analysts is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. PDT) today and should last about an hour. Tune in here for our analysis.