Apple set for slowest ever iPhone sales growth

Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:57pm EST
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By Anya George Tharakan and Supantha Mukherjee

(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) is expected to report a 1.3 percent increase in iPhone sales in the holiday quarter, its slowest ever and a far cry from the double-digit growth investors have come to expect.

Apple sold 75.5 million iPhones in the October-December quarter, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount, 1 million more than what was sold in the year-ago quarter.

Shares of Apple, which will announce earnings after markets close on Tuesday, were trading up 0.3 percent at $99.76, after dipping to $98.07 in morning trading.

Analysts say the bad news is already priced into the stock.

Irrespective of the anticipated lackluster iPhone sales, Wall Street expects Apple to report its biggest-ever profit and revenue in the first quarter.

Analysts on average expect Apple to report a profit of $18.14 billion in the first quarter and revenue of $76.59 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Demand has weakened for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which boasted record weekend sales when they launched in September.

These devices have fewer distinguishing features than their popular predecessors, especially the bigger-screen 6 and 6 Plus phones that were launched in 2014 and grabbed the attention of Asian customers who until then favored the bigger screen phones offered by the likes of Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: Quote).   Continued...

A woman tries apple's iPhone 6 at an Apple store in Beijing, November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon