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Apple Stock Slips as Quarterly Net Income Drops $1 Billion From 2019

Company tops Wall Street’s fourth-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts despite dwindling iPhone sales

Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter iPhone sales declined 21% — or about $7 billion — from last year, tripping up the company share price in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Wall Street had forecast Q4 earnings of 70 cents per share for Apple on $63.7 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Yahoo Finance. This afternoon, Apple reported earnings per share (EPS) of 73 cents on $64.7 billion in revenue.

Company net income was $12.7 billion, down $1 billion from the fiscal fourth quarter of 2019. Mac and iPad sales helped offset some of those iPhones declines. (Remember, the July-September quarter ended before the iPhone 12 came out.) Growth in its services and home devices — including wearables — segments helped Apple’s overall sales increase in Q4 2020.

Apple TV+, while not specifically broken out in company financials, is included in its “services” line item — a segment that grew more than $2 billion in this Q4.

“Apple capped off a fiscal year defined by innovation in the face of adversity with a September quarter record, led by all-time records for Mac and Services,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement accompanying the financials on Thursday. “Despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, Apple is in the midst of our most prolific product introduction period ever, and the early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G-enabled iPhone lineup, has been tremendously positive. From remote learning to the home office, Apple products have been a window to the world for users as the pandemic continues, and our teams have met the needs of this moment with creativity, passion, and the kinds of big ideas that only Apple can deliver.”

“Our outstanding September quarter performance concludes a remarkable fiscal year, where we established new all-time records for revenue, earnings per share, and free cash flow, in spite of an extremely volatile and challenging macro environment,” added Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “Our sales results and the unmatched loyalty of our customers drove our active installed base of devices to an all-time high in all of our major product categories. We also returned nearly $22 billion to shareholders during the quarter, as we maintain our target of reaching a net cash neutral position over time.”

Apple stock (AAPL) closed Thursday’s regular trading day at $115.32 per share. At the time of this writing, the stock had dipped below $110 per share in after-hours trading.

The U.S. stock markets will reopen for their regular trading day tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Last quarter, Apple posted earnings of $2.58 per share on revenues of $59.7 billion. At the time, both represented double-digit growth on a percentage basis from the comparable 2019 quarter.

On Wednesday, Apple TV+ handed an early Season 3 renewal to its No. 1 comedy, “Ted Lasso.” Season 2 has yet to begin production.

Executives will hold a conference call at 5 p.m. ET to discuss the quarter and full year in greater detail.