Apple misses on earnings; stock sags in after hours


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For the first time in years, Apple failed to meet analysts’ financial expectations, generating less revenue and profit than Wall Street expected and ending a long string of record quarters.

[Updated, Oct. 18, 2:25 p.m.: Profit increased to $6.62 billion, or $7.05 a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 24, compared to $4.31 billion, or $4.64 a share a year earlier. But analysts were expecting the company to post earnings of $7.31 a share. Revenue rose 39% -- to $28.27 billion -- but also fell short of estimates.


The company’s stock sagged 7% in after-hours trading, dropping below $400 from a record closing price of $422.24 on Tuesday.]

Apple sold 17.1 million iPhones during its fiscal fourth quarter, nearly 5 million fewer than Wall Street had guessed. The iPhone is Apple’s most profitable product and, in previous years, the company’s sales growth has slowed just before new versions were released.

The new iPhone 4S went on sale last week and has already sold 4 million units, nearly twice as many as its predecessor in the same time period.

In a statement accompanying the company’s financial results, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook focused on the success of the iPhone 4S -- which was not on sale during the recent quarter -- and on Apple’s broader fiscal picture for 2012, a strong year for the company.

‘We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion,’ Cook said in the statement. ‘Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.’



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