Apple's iPhone disappointment fans doubt on growth

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:30pm EST
 

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc missed Wall Street's revenue forecast for the third straight quarter after iPhone sales came in below expectations, fanning fears that its dominance of consumer electronics is slipping.

Shares of the world's largest tech company fell 10 percent to $463 in after-hours trade, wiping out some $50 billion of its market value - nearly equivalent to that of Hewlett-Packard and Dell combined.

On Wednesday, Apple said it shipped a record 47.8 million iPhones in the December quarter, up 29 percent from a year earlier. But that lagged the 50 million that analysts on average had projected.

Expectations heading into the results had been subdued by news of possible production cutbacks by some component suppliers in Asia, triggering fears that demand for the iPhone, which accounts for half of Apple's revenue, and the iPad could be slowing.

But some investors clung to hopes for a repeat of years of historical outperformance, analysts said.

"It's going to call into question Apple's dominance in the space. It's still one of the strong players, the others being Samsung and Google. It's still a two-horse race, but Android continues to grow rapidly," said Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu.

"If you step back a bit, it's clear they shipped a lot of phones. But the problem is the high expectations that investors have. Apple's conservative guidance highlights the concerns over production cuts coming out of Asia recently."

Apple is forecasting revenue of $41 billion to $43 billion in the current, second fiscal quarter, lagging the average Wall Street forecast of more than $45 billion.   Continued...

 
The Apple logo is pictured at the company's flagship retail store in San Francisco, California January 23, 2013. Apple results are due after market closes around worries about the profit potential in the tech sector, increased amid questions about waning demand for Apple Inc products and a weak outlook from Intel Corp last week. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS LOGO)