Apple beats estimates on iPhones and Macs


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The Independent Online

Apple’s latest quarterly earnings beat estimates as sales of iPhones and Macs came in higher than analysts had expected, the company said late on Wednesday.

Apple also pleased shareholders by increasing its massive share buy back plans by a further $30 billion, increasing its dividend, and announcing an unusual 7-for-1 stock split.

Companies often plan a stock split when their share price rises too high or beyond the reach of many ordinary investors. Apple shares, which have been trading above $550, jumped about 8 percent in after-hours trading.

“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive.

“We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market,” Cook added.

Apple reported quarterly sales of 43.7 million iPhones, more than the 38 million analysts had predicted. Revenue rose 4.6 percent to $45.6 billion, above analyst expectations of about $43.5 billion.

iPad sales, though, fell.

“Agree completely with ‪$AAPL's increased buyback and extremely pleased with results. Believe we’ll also be happy when we see new products,” tweeted activist investor Carl Icahn who has long pressurized Apple to return more of its roughly $150 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

“As we said at conference yesterday, we continue to believe ‪$AAPL remains meaningfully undervalued. Many analysts fail to understand company,” Icahn also tweeted.

Apple said it posted quarterly net profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per diluted share compared to $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin was 39.3 percent, up from 37.5 percent. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, gave more details on the program to return capital to shareholders.

“We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter,” said Oppenheimer.

“That brings cumulative payments under our capital return program to $66 billion.”

Despite its cash hoard, Apple said that to help fund its capital return program and buybacks, it expects to “access the public debt markets during 2014, both domestically and internationally.”