Apple announced continued strong results in its fiscal second quarter ending March 15, pushed up by continued strong sales of iPhones internationally.
The company announced earnings of $2.33 per share on revenues of $58.01 billion for the quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings per share of $2.17 on revenues of $56.06 billion.
In the same quarter a year ago, Apple reported earnings of $1.66 per share on revenues of $57.59.
Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter.
Once again this quarter, the strong numbers were fueled by iPhone sales in international markets like China, the U.K., and India. International sales accounted for 69 percent of the quarter’s revenue. “We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
And, Cook added, the iPhone wasn’t the only product that sold well in the quarter: “We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac, and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever.”
Apple set an all-time record last quarter by posting a net profit of $18 billion. At that time, Apple had predicted revenues of between $52 billion and $55 billion for this quarter, with gross margins coming in at between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent.
With the earnings, Apple also announced a capital buy-back program, in which it will return $200 billion to shareholders. To provide some perspective on the amount of money being returned, consider that Apple’s biggest competitor, Samsung, has a total market cap of only $191 billion. Apple will distribute the money by the end of March 2017.
This put investors in a good mood. Apple shares are up $1.75, or 1.32 percent, to $134.40 in after-hours trading at the time of this writing.
Analysts had said that the iPhone would continue to be the driving factor in Apple’s financial performance, and that proved to be true once again. The second quarter of the year is traditionally a flatter quarter for phone sales, which explains the roughly 13 million sales differential compared to the previous quarter, when Apple sold 74.5 million phones.
Tablet sales continue to flatten, continuing the trend from the December-ending quarter. Apple reported sales of 21.4 million units, a 21 percent drop from the year-ago period. Bloomberg analysts predicted Apple would sell 22 million iPads during the quarter, which would represent a decline of 14 percent from last year.
Apple’s guidance for the third quarter predicts more good times, with revenues between $46 billion and $48 billion, and operating margins between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent.