Despite iPhone sales, Apple surprisingly misses Wall Street expectations

Apple was probably cheering this weekend with a record-breaking number of iPhone 4S units sold, but we’re certain the company isn’t happy today with fourth quarter earnings that didn’t meet Wall Street’s hefty expectations. Apple hasn’t missed Street targets in a very long while.

Apple’s long-term viability was questioned when long-time CEO and tech visionary Steve Jobs passed away a few weeks ago. But Jobs left a strong team in place led by new CEO Tim Cook that plans to do their damnedest to make Jobs proud.

FactSet’s average of major analyst expectations thought Apple would earn $29.5 billion in revenue along with $7.22 per share.

But Apple ended Q4 with $28.27 billion in revenues and $7.05 per diluted share. Its quarterly net profit stood at $6.62 billion for the quarter. That equals out to a 54 percent gain in net income, but it still hurts to miss financial targets.

Let’s look at individual sales for the quarter:

  • 17.07 million iPhones, a 21 percent growth over the year-ago quarter
  • 11.12 million iPads, a 166 percent growth over the year-ago quarter
  • 4.89 million Macs, a 26 percent growth over the year-ago quarter
  • 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent decline from the year-ago quarter

The brightest spot on the sales list is iPads, which continue to stand out as the number one selling tablet device in the world. The iPod, on the other hand, may be slowing dying as people don’t need to update those units each year or they simply use their iPhones/other smartphones to listen to music.

Apple’s stock closed at $422.24 at the end of trading today, near its all-time high of $426.70. But the stock took a dive in after-hours trading as investors reacted to the missed expectations. At the time of this post, Apple’s stock was trading around $395.