America Was Unprepared for a Drop in Apple Earnings
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to forecasting Apple's(AAPL) much-anticipated earnings, the average investor sitting at home incorrectly bet that the tech titan would continue to increase earnings.
Heading into an all-important fiscal first-quarter earnings release, estimates submitted by non-professional investors expected Apple's earnings to rise from a year earlier. That optimism conflicted with Wall Street's consensus estimates of the first profit drop in roughly a decade.
The mismatch between expectations and Apple's actual earnings -- and an over 7% decline in the company's stock below $480 a share -- might be an indication the average investor managing a TD Ameritrade(AMTD) or E-Trade(ETFC) account might not be prepared for earnings to fall at the Cupertino, Calif-based company, after years of enviable growth.
Still, "homebrew" stock analysts once again appear to be stiff competition to the "suits" on Wall Street in forecasting Apple's earnings -- the numbers weren't that far off, all things considered.
In the fiscal first quarter, Apple reported earnings per share (EPS) of $13.81 on revenue of $54.5 billion, indicating a mixed report that missed on the top line but beat expectations on profits. According to analyst forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters, Apple was expected to earn $13.47 a share on $54.7 billion in revenue.
The headline-grabbing figure from the earnings report is the $13.81 in EPS Apple earned.
Those figures and a fiscal second-quarter earnings guidance of continued margin and growth pressure indicates ordinary investors may be unprepared for a turbulent 2013 for Apple, after years in which the company was the darling of the stock-investing public.
According to hundreds of DIY forecasts submitted to Estimize, investors expected Apple to post a profit of $14.19 a share, a 2%-plus gain on record revenue of $55.3 billion for the quarter. At EarningsWhisper, independent investors pegged Apple's earnings at $14 a share, a 13-cent advance on the launch of the iPhone 5 and a fresh set of iPad and MacBook offerings.