(By Balaseshan) Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported quarterly earnings that trailed market expectations. The technology giant, which declared a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share, guided the Q1 fiscal 2013 first-quarter below market expectations.
Earnings per share (EPS) were $8.67 per share for the fourth quarter, compared with $7.05 per share in the year-ago quarter, missing Wall Street projections of $8.75 a share.
Revenue jumped 27.2 percent to $35.97 billion, exceeding the consensus estimate of a 26.6 percent growth to $35.80 billion.
The company's iPhone sales jumped 58 percent to 26.9 million units from the same period of last year.
iPad sales surged 26 percent to 14.0 million units. Apple sold 4.9 million Macs, a 1 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales dropped 19 percent to 5.3 million units.
Gross margin declined to 40.0 percent from 40.3 percent in the year-ago period.
In the third quarter, Apple's EPS surged to $9.32 from $7.79. Net sales surged 22.4 percent to $35.0 billion. iPhone sales jumped 28 percent to 26.0 million units, and iPad sales surged 84 percent to 17.0 million units. Apple sold 4 million Macintosh computers, an increase of 2 percent from last year.
Apple's board declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per common share, payable on November 15 to shareholders of record as of November 12.
Looking ahead into the first quarter, AAPL forecasts EPS of $11.75 and revenue of about $52 billion, while analysts expect EPS of $15.41 on revenue of $54.98 billion.
As previously expected by BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman, Apple guided first quarter below the Street view as the tech giant is experiencing supply constraints related to iPhone 5, thereby making it difficult to cater to the huge demand.
Bachman said although investors generally understand that Apple provides conservative guidance, the potentially wide gap between December quarter forecast and sell-side estimates could be another factor contributing to the weak stock performance in the near term.
Shares of Apple have gained 53.46 percent in the past year – an achievement considering the weak economic backdrop. Since its third quarter results, shares have increased 6.17 percent.
AAPL closed Thursday's regular session down 1.14 percent at $609.80. The stock has been trading between $363.32 and $705.07 for the past 52 weeks.