Inside the Numbers
In Q4, Apple earned $0.73 per share which topped analysts' expectations of $0.70 per share. Revenue came in at $64.7 billion vs $63.70 billion a 1% year-over-year gain.
The big miss and cause for concern was iPhone revenue at $26.44 billion vs. $27.93 billion estimated, down 20.7%. One bright spot was services revenue at $14.55 billion which topped expectations for $14.08, up 16.3% year-over-year.
Apple also benefitted from the overall increase in sales of PCs, laptops, and tablet sales due to the work-from-home environment. People are spending more time online. Also, many people chose to upgrade their devices given that there would be more heavy use. Another factor is that for people who haven't lost their jobs, they actually have more disposable income since spending in many outlets Is impaired or not possible.
However, investors may have been disappointed by the lack of first-quarter 2021 guidance, as it would be the first hint of the sales performance of the iPhone12. Some believe that sales will be higher as the average age of an iPhone is now more than two years old. And, the potential for stimulus, and more tech spending due to the coronavirus.
The lack of fiscal first-quarter 2021 guidance from Apple means that investors and analysts don't get a hint at how Apple is projecting the sales performance of the iPhone 12, which went on sale in October. Apple cited the rising coronavirus case counts and potential for lockdowns as reasons not to issue guidance.
However, CEO Tim Cook sounded optimistic about the phone's prospects. He also said to expect a lineup of new Macs in 2021 that would use Apple-designed chips.
Stock Price Impact
Apple has a price to earnings ratio of 34. It's interesting that in 2013, its p/e ratio was 11. This means that some chunk of Apple's price appreciation is due to multiple expansion. Over this time, net income has gone from $37 billion to $57 billion. However, the stock price has gone up by more than six times.
I don't think this development means that Apple's stock is overvalued or going to do down, but it does mean there's more risk. There's the risk of it going down, because it falls short of expectations. Also, the risk that profits could continue growing but multiples compress.