Apple blames quarterly miss on new model anticipation, economy

Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:56pm EDT
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By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's results fell short of Wall Street's expectations as the European economy sagged and consumers held off on buying its flagship iPhone ahead of a new version expected in the fall, hitting its stock price.

Shares of the world's most valuable technology company shed more than 5 percent of their value after Apple - which beats Wall Street expectations with near regularity - reported its second quarterly miss on results in less than a year.

The stock slid to $570.81 in late trade after closing at $600.92 on the Nasdaq.

The disappointing numbers highlight how the Apple brand is becoming less resistant to the economic and product cycles that have plagued rivals.

Apple, which Tim Cook has led since last August, divided the blame for the shortfall between muted consumer purchases in Western European countries and the pullback in demand as consumers wait for a new iPhone model that many expect will be launched in September or October.

From April to June, Apple shipped 26 million iPhones, well below the 28 million to 29 million that Wall Street analysts had predicted, even taking into account a pause in buying ahead of the iPhone 5. It was a far cry from the 35.1 million that moved in the March quarter.

Sales of the iPad, the tablet that accounts for well over half the world's market, came in at 17 million in the fiscal third quarter, above expectations.

Apple, notorious for its conservative forecasts, estimated earnings for the September quarter of $7.65 a share on revenue of $34 billion, well below the average estimate of $10.23 a share on revenue of $38.03 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...

An Apple logo is seen at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam