Apple Inc. Crushes Earnings, Ups Capital Returns Significantly

By Markets Fool.com

Following the market close, Apple reported its second-fiscal-quarter results. The company delivered $58 billion in revenue, well ahead of the high end of its guidance range of $55 billion. It also reported net income of $13.6 billion, topping the high end of Apple's net income guidance of $12.3 billion.

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Looking ahead to the coming quarter, Apple forecasts revenue in the range of $46 billion to $48 billion, with the midpoint of that range about in line with the analyst consensus of $47.06 billion. The company is also guiding for gross profit margins in the range of 38.5% to 39.5%, operating expenses of between $5.65 billion and $5.75 billion, and "other income" of $350 million.

Once Apple's expected tax rate of 26.3% is factored in, Apple is guiding to net income in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion. Based on Apple's diluted share count of 5.83 billion at the end of the quarter, Apple's effective earnings per share guidance is in the range of $1.54 and $1.71, the midpoint of which is slightly below the consensus of $1.68.

In all, these are fantastic results. Let's dig in a little deeper into these results.

iPhone results look incredible
Apple shipped 61.17 million iPhones in the quarter at an implied average selling price of $658.53. Units were up 40% from the year-ago period and revenue was up an eye-popping 55% from last year, thanks to healthy average selling price increases.

Research firm IDC said late last year that it expects overall smartphone growth to come in at 12.2% in 2015. So far, Apple is significantly outgrowing the market. Outgrowing the market is impressive, but it's all the more so when your devices' selling prices are more than twice the industry average: Qualcomm says that 3G and 4G device average selling prices were somewhere in the range of $193 to $199 during its fiscal second quarter.

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Apple appears to be benefiting from both a great upgrade cycle from within the iPhone installed base, and from share gains against high-end Android vendors. It also doesn't hurt that the market for high-end phones itself is probably growing, too.

Mac looks good, but iPad is in bad shape
Apple said Mac unit shipments were up 10% year over year, which is quite favorable relative to the declining PC market, but Mac-related revenues were up only 2%. These figures suggest that Apple is being a bit more aggressive in cutting prices to try to capture market-segment share.

The company's iPad business, on the other hand, isn't doing so well. Unit shipments were down 23% year over year, and revenue was down 29% year over year. This is the worst of both worlds: Unit shipments are coming down violently even as Apple sees average selling prices decline.

During the call, management indicated that part of the decline in iPad shipments was due to inventory correction in the channel. That means the iPad's sell-through to end customers was higher than Apple's sales numbers would suggest, but if that's the case, then that could suggest that the previous quarter's iPad sales overstated end demand.

Perhaps new, more compelling iPads this fall could help reinvigorate iPad sales?

Let's talk about that capital return update
Finally, Apple updated its capital return policy. The company has boosted its dividend by 11%, giving its shareholders a nice income boost. Apple also added another $50 billion to its buyback authorization, bumping it up from $90 billion to $140 billion.

Apple said in its press release that it "plans to utilize a cumulative total of $200 billion in cash by the end of March 2017."

If Apple's management is truly this convinced that the company's stock is significantly undervalued, even as it hits new all-time highs in after-hours trading, then long-term Apple shareholders have plenty to look forward to in the years ahead.

The article Apple Inc. Crushes Earnings, Ups Capital Returns Significantly originally appeared on Fool.com.

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.