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Apple's earnings "miss" more an issue with overzealous analysts


Apple reported its quarterly earnings earlier this week, and the results were lower than many Wall Street watchers expected (even though Apple beat its own revenue guidance by more than 12%). This miss was widely reported and Apple's stock took a hit -- AAPL dropped from above 420 before the announcement to under 400 on Thursday afternoon. But whose fault is this negative perception? Is it Apple's failure to perform this past quarter, or analysts' overenthusiastic predictions that led to this situation?

According to Fortune contributor Andy Zaky, this foible is only a minor blip created by analysts whose predictions were off the chart. Zaky points out that Apple, in the past, has reported revenue that was about 12-18% above guidance. Analysts used this historical information and issued a consensus estimate that was 5-10% above guidance. That's how it worked. Analysts would predict on the lower side, Apple would earn on the higher side and life was good.

This past quarter, though, analyst estimates had crept up to 18.8% ahead of guidance, while Apple's reported earnings were 13% above the company's guidance. Though Apple's earnings fell within the normal 12 to 18% over guidance, analysts got ahead of themselves and overestimated Apple's performance. And it's their own fault, says Zaky. Apple repeatedly warned analysts this was going to be a transitional quarter, but analysts failed to listen.

[Via The Loop]

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