Apple's quarterly results disappointing
Updated: 2013-10-29 09:58
Hoping for more
Cook did not address the overall popularity of the 5C on his call with analysts but mentioned there was "a very significant backlog" for the more expensive 5S.
The world's most valuable tech company said on Monday it expected revenue of $55 billion to $58 billion this quarter, outpacing Wall Street's forecast for about $55.65 billion.
Gross profit margin for the fourth quarter ended September was 37 percent, down from 40 percent a year ago as intense competition from the likes of Samsung took a toll. That was roughly level with analysts' average 36.9 percent forecast.
"We would have expected higher gross margins," said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. "With the higher price phones and clear preference toward the 5S, we were all expecting more of a gross margin boost for the December quarter."
Shares in Apple, which have gained 17 percent since its upbeat forecast last month, slid as much as 5 percent on Monday before recovering after Cook said the company will continue studying its capital-return program, addressing recent demands by investors to share more of its cash hoard.
The stock was down 1.2 percent at about $523.43 after hours.
Beyond the holiday quarter, some investors still hold out hope that the company that upended the cellphone industry and popularized tablet computing can again dream up a revolutionary device, returning Apple to the stellar growth of past years.
The company is increasingly hard-pressed to fend off rivals. Strategy Analytics estimated on Monday that Apple's market share slipped to 13.4 percent in the calendar third quarter from 15.6 percent previously, while Samsung led with 35.2 percent.
As growth tapers off, some shareholders have become increasingly aggressive at seeking a bigger return of cash - the company ended the September quarter with $146.8 billion in cash plus short-term and long-term marketable securities.
Billionaire Carl Icahn, who owns 4.7 million Apple shares, has led the charge, demanding the company initiate a tender offer to buy back $150 billion of its stock.
Cook told analysts the company will continue to seek shareholder input on its capital return program, and will announce any changes in the first part of the new calendar year.
Apple said it sold 33.8 million iPhones last quarter, roughly in line with expectations for 33 million to 36 million.
It sold 14.1 million iPads during the quarter, up very slightly from 14 million in the year-ago quarter, and moved 4.6 million of its Mac computers, down from 4.9 million a year ago.
Revenue was $37.5 billion, ahead of Wall Street's average forecast of $36.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Earnings per share slid for the third straight quarter to $8.26, but ahead of analysts' average estimate of $7.94.
"They had already preannounced and people got euphoric in recent weeks. It wasn't a massive blowout," said Shannon Cross of Cross Research.
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