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How to put a negative spin on a record breaking Apple earnings report


Apple yesterday posted its earnings results for the quarter gone and, per usual, they exceeded Wall Street expectations. All told, Apple posted revenue of $37.4 billion (a Q3 quarterly record) and EPS of $1.28. This compares to revenue of $35.3 billion and EPS of $1.07 during the same quarter a year-ago.

In other words, Apple's quarterly profit increased by nearly 20% (19.6% to be precise). That's a tremendous increase for a traditionally slow quarter that saw no new significant product upgrades.

Tim Cook even mentioned in Apple's press release that the recent quarter drove Apple's "highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters." Not too shabby given the growing chorus of analysts and industry observers so quick to claim that Apple's growth days are a thing of the past.

But like clockwork, the news outlets weaving a negative spin on Apple's record-breaking June quarter were not in short supply. Indeed, putting a negative spin on an otherwise glowing earnings report is a time-honored past time for some.

Here's how they do it.

First up, and by far the biggest offender, we have a curiously titled story from Reuters which bizarrely proclaims that Apple's revenue "lags Street forecasts."

The report adds:

Apple Inc posted a smaller-than-expected 6 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, after selling 35.2 million iPhones in an increasingly competitive smartphone market.

The company, which derives most of its business from the high-end mobile device, reported sales of $37.4 billion in its fiscal third quarter ended June, falling short of Wall Street's expectations for about $38 billion.

The past quarter was the highest EPS growth Apple has seen in nearly two years and this is what Reuters is focusing on? Classic spin, folks. Avoid the positive and amplify everything else.

Sure, Apple's revenue was off analyst estimates, but aren't cold hard profits the ultimate metric to pay attention to? And in that regard, Apple absolutely smashed Wall Street expectations. Of course, if revenue came in at $40 billion and Apple missed on EPS, that would undoubtedly be the headline Reuters would run with.

Per usual, Apple is damned no matter how you cut it.

Next up we have CNET whose story on Apple's quarterly earnings starts off with this gem:

"Apple just couldn't quite pull it off."

Okay, then.

The article adds:

The Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant on Tuesday reported earnings in the fiscal third quarter that topped Wall Street expectations, but iPhone sales, revenue results, and fourth-quarter guidance weren't quite the blowout analysts had hoped for. It also reported disappointing iPad sales for the second period in a row.

If one doesn't know any better, it's easy to read the article and leave with the conclusion that times are tough over in Cupertino.

Pundits enjoy picking and choosing which facts to focus on to help further whatever narrative they're trying to push. If they want a negative spin on Apple, they'll just ignore record-breaking revenue and double-digit profit growth and instead harp on sales figures that don't match up with the expectations from typically clueless Wall Street analysts.

But don't be fooled. In what's traditionally Apple's slowest and most ho-hum quarter, the company delivered big time with record-breaking revenue and much higher than expected earnings. And it was able to accomplish this even with iPad sales that failed to impress.

To provide some additional context to Apple's 2014 thus far, consider this: Apple in 2014 has already generated $7 billion more in revenue than it generated during the same six-month period in 2013. At this rate, it appears that Apple in 2014 is well on its way towards earning more in revenue, and perhaps profits, than in any other year in company history.

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