You can always expect an extreme move in Apple’s (AAPL, $152.52, down $13.77) stock the day after an earnings announcement. Another thing you can expect is for Apple to beat Wall Street’s expectations — they have for eight straight quarters — and yesterday was no different.
The company reported earnings of $1.19 a share on revenue of $7.46 billion. Of course, Apple is famous for “sandbagging” their numbers, meaning they always forecast at the lower end of earnings. Cisco Systems (CSCO, $21.72, down $0.12) is the King of beating earnings by a penny but when it comes to Apple, it makes Cisco look like a Pawn. Wall Street was expecting earnings of $1.08 so Apple beat by $0.11.
The problem with Apple is that Wall Street no longer rewards the company for its outstanding results; instead it chooses to focus on what Apple says about the future. And Apple dropped a bomb when it said gross margins will dip to 31% for the current quarter, down from 34.8% for the quarter just ended. Although Apple said gross margins would still average 30% for 2009, the news has dropped the stock back to the $150 level.
The drop in gross margins will likely be caused by a drop in prices for the Mac. Apple shipped 2.5 million Macs in the quarter, a record, with desktop shipments growing faster than laptops. Some say an overhaul on the Macs are overdue and Apple did say they were introducing “state-of-the-art new products at prices our competitors can’t match”. It all makes sense with the back-to-school shopping season right around the corner.
Apple doesn’t deserve the sell-off it is getting and the August 150 puts (APVTJ, $5.35, up $2.25) are up 73% today. I don’t think Apple will fall much further so I would be hesitant to buy any puts right now. I do expect the stock to recover and perhaps it will when we get more details on these cool, new products Apple will be releasing.