The shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell the strongest on Friday for more than two years, after the world's largest technology company made better-than-expected gains in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Slowing growth in emerging markets and a stronger US dollar would probably mean that holiday sales would fall short of Wall Street forecasts.
The group also unsettled investors when they said they would no longer provide detailed figures for selling individual products such as iPhones and Mac computers. This means that investors can no longer calculate their average selling price, an important measure of the company's profitability. The decision to delete these guidelines, as well as forecasts for the December quarter of approximately $ 91 billion in the three months ended December, overshadowed a stronger than expected September quarter, exceeding the expected $ 2.91 earnings per share and group revenues of $ 62.9 billion.
"From the December quarter, we will no longer provide sales for iPhone, iPad and Mac," said CFO Luca Maestri on Thursday in a conference call. "As we've said many times before, our goal is to create great products and services that enrich people's lives and provide an unparalleled customer experience so our users are highly satisfied, loyal and dedicated."
"Achieving these goals will result in strong financial results," he added. "As our financial results have shown in recent years, the number of units sold over a 90-day period is not necessarily representative of the underlying strength of our business."
Apple shares fell 5.7% at the opening bell, and changed ownership for $ 209.45 each. This is the lowest level since August 1, and a move that is below the market value of the group based in Cupertino, California, for the first time in less than $ 1 trillion. It was the first company to exceed this rating on August 2.
Apple said it had moved 46.9 million iPhones in the three months to the end of September, a figure broadly in line with analysts' forecasts, but flattered by a much higher than expected average selling price of $ 793, which surpassed the consensus of $ 751 by 28.3% over the same period last year.
Services revenue, which includes App Store, Apple Music, iCloud Storage, and Apple Pay, increased 27% to $ 10 billion, down from 31% in the June quarter. This weakening may have been influenced by the slower sales of the iPhone, which reduces the so-called installed base.
"We believe the new iPhones will boost ASPs well, but unit growth is still lacking," said Tim Long of BMO Capital Markets. "We are skeptical about ASP's sustainability as a growth driver, management will stop reporting volumes, and some investors may be disappointed by the lower levels of disclosure."