Apple Tops Q1 Earnings Expectations As iPhone, China Strength Lead To Record Revenues

Apple Inc AAPL reported fiscal-year 2021 first-quarter results that came in well ahead of estimates, with iPhone, wearables and Services all ringing in record revenues. Geographically, Greater China region stood out, with 57% year-over-year increase in revenues.

Apple's Key Numbers: First-quarter net income came in at $28.76 billion or $1.68 per share compared to $22.24 billion or $1.24 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues topped the $100 billion mark for the first time ever, coming in at $111.44 billion, up 21.4% year-over-year from $91.82 billion reported in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.

Analysts, on average, estimated earnings of $1.41 per share on revenues of $103.28 billion.

International sales as a percentage of total sales were at 64% compared to 59% in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 61% in the first quarter of 2020.

Gross margin came in at 39.78%. This compares to 38.16% in the previous quarter and 38.4% in the year-ago quarter. Operating cash flow was at a record $38.8 billion.

"Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices," said CFO Luca Maestri.

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Apple's Product, Segmental Revenue Breakdown: Americas, which accounted for 41.56% of Apple's total sales, saw year-over-year revenue growth of 11.95%.

Revenue growth in Europe, the next biggest contributor, was at 17.33% to $27.31 billion.

Greater China and Japan contributed 19.13% and 7.44%, respectively to total sales. These two regions saw revenue growth of 57% and 3.31%, respectively.

Apple's flagship product, the iPhone, fetched the company $65.60 billion in sales by virtue of 17.23% year-over-year growth. It accounted for 58.86% of the total revenues.

Loup Venture's Gene Munster had expected the share of iPhone revenues to total revenues increasing to 59% from the typical 50% range. He had modeled 16% growth in iPhone revenues to $64.9 billion compared to the Street estimate of $59.4 billion.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives was looking for volume shipments in the range of low-to-mid 90 million. Incidentally, Apple stopped reporting unit numbers for iPhones.

Apple launched its newest iteration of iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 12, late last year. The company had a delayed as well as phased launch of the iPhone 12, which came in four variants.

Ives sees the launch kickstarting a Super Cycle, as 350 million of the 950 million iPhones worldwide are in the window of an upgrade opportunity.

Sales of Mac and iPad came in at $8.66 billion and $8.44 billion, respectively. Wearables, home and accessories sales climbed about 30% to $12.97 billion.

The Services segment revenue growth accelerated to about 24% to $15.76 billion, exceeding the $15 billion modeled by Munster.

Apple Dividend: Apple's board declared a cash dividend of 20.5 cents per share, payable on Feb. 11, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 8.

Apple's Outlook: For the March quarter, Street estimates Apple to report EPS of 91 cents on revenues of $74.54 billion. The consensus estimates for the fiscal year 2021 call for EPS of $4.03 on revenues of $318.9 billion.

Apple shares ended 2020 with a gain of about 82% at $132.69. Having experienced some weakness at the start of the year, the stock has come back and is trading with a modest gain of 8% for the year-to-date period.

Reacting to the results, Apple shares were little changed at $142.01 in the after-hours session. The stock ended the regular session down 0.77% to $142.06.

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