Wall St has wiped nearly $50 billion off the value of Apple as it digests last quarter results that show profits flat – at $13 billion for the quarter – and fears the end of Apple’s amazing growth over the last few years.
Even record revenues of $54.5 billion in the past three months was not enough to convince investors that Apple’s growth rate is sustainable and its share price collapsed 10 per cent in after-market trading.
Apple said that in the last quarter of 2012 its revenues had risen by 17.7 per cent to $54.5 billion compared with the same period the year before. This was driven primarily by the launch of the iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad 4. The company sold 47.5 million iPhones and 22.9 million iPads during the last quarter.
Wall St had anticipated that Apple’s profit margin would fall during the quarter as the launch of so many new products imposed significant up-front costs. But the company’s prediction that margins in the first three months of this year could fall further to between 37.5 per cent and 38.5 per cent rang more alarm bells. After previous big product launches, Apple’s profit margin has risen in subsequent quarters.
The company also predicted that its revenue this quarter would be between $41 billion and $43 billion, which represents a larger-than-expected drop in demand for the new devices.
Apple’s share price has fallen by about 30 per cent since its peak last year and fell a further $51.30 to $462.71 in after-hours trading last night.