(By Ron Haruni) With iPhone5 slowing Apple's (AAPL) sales and profit growth, many analysts believe that the company's third-quarter earnings, which will be announced today at 2 p.m. PT during an earnings call with Wall Street, may fall short as customers are putting off changing their smartphone until the new iPhone5 comes out later this year.
Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi, sees a reasonable chance Apple will miss on revenue, citing "macroeconomic weakness in China and Europe, a product cycle lull in the iPhone, a later than expected introduction of the new iPad into China, and the late quarter introduction of new Mac notebooks."
The world's most valuable technology company is expected to report 3Q earnings of $10.35 a share on revenue of $37.2 billion, according to Reuters.
"People are waiting," Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, told Bloomberg. He believes Apple will sell about 25.4 million iPhones compared with 35.1 million in the previous quarter.
Any fourth-quarter, July – September, drop in iPhone sales could be slower still if, as many industry analysts believe, the iPhone5 is not released until October. However, when it finally hits the market, it is projected to become the best-selling smartphone ever from Apple. "It's going to be bad now, but great later," said Hargreaves.
Apple will probably report profit grew 35% to $9.86 billion, according to the average of analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales are projected to rise 31% to $37.3 billion.
"While that kind of growth", notes Bloomberg, "would outpace gains by most of Apple's technology peers, it would be the company's slowest since 2009?.
Apple shares closed Friday at $604.30 on 16 million volume on the Nasdaq.
Stock's 52 week range: $353.02 – $644.00.