Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., center, stands for a photograph with WWDC 2016 Scholarship program winners during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 13, 2016.
David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Despite another sales slump.

By Lucinda Shen
July 27, 2016

Despite its second straight quarter of slumping sales, shares of Apple aapl rose to their highest point in three months in early trading Wednesday as the company reported a more optimistic guidance and earnings that modestly beat Wall Street expectations.

That added $33.35 billion the company’s market cap in midday trading Wednesday, sending Apple to $103.51 a share as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the giant wasn’t doing as badly as everyone expected.

Apple reported a sales drop of 15% to $42.4 billion as iPhone sales shrank 15%—though that still beat Wall Street’s expected $42.1 billion. Earning per share also fell about 27% to $1.42, coming in above the estimated $1.39. iPhone sales fell to 40.4 million units, slightly better than the expected 40 million units.

And while Apple told investors it was expecting another quarter of sales dips, its sales guidance for the current quarter—$45.5 billion to $47.5 billion—came in on the higher end of the Wall Street consensus, $45.71 billion.

Although the stock still has yet to rebound to its prices prior to Apple’s second quarter earnings, when the tech giant touted a market cap of $571.57 billion. It’s also a far cry from its all-time high in February 2015 of $774.69 billion—before investors began worrying about Apple’s iPhone sales.

 

The stock’s price was likely buoyed in part by investor’s low expectations going into the company’s fiscal third quarter earnings, as some investors were burned when Apple missed earnings estimates during its disastrous second quarter, despite warning signs that iPhone sales have been flagging months earlier.

Another bright spot in the company’s third quarter earnings came in the form of Apple services, products including iCloud storage and Apple Music, which the company has emphasized as part of its long-term plan for continual growth as the smartphone market matures. That sector rose 19% from a year earlier.

While some investors grew confident over the results, other onlookers curbed their optimism given how the iPhone makes up the largest chunk of Apple’s revenue.

“It was generally a good quarter for Apple, given very low expectations. However, we continue to worry about slowing smartphone growth and elongating refresh cycles in mature markets,” Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner wrote in a Wednesday note to clients. “Given these long-term challenges, we continue to view future growth as more challenged, and see current valuations as fair.”

Still, it seems, Apple has a long way to go.

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