Was this Apple's $20 billion quarter?October 9, 2010: 10:50 AM ET
The blogger-analysts say damn straight. The Street isn't far behind
Wall Street was more than a little skeptical in July when Apple (AAPL) CFO Peter Oppenheimer offered his revenue guidance for the quarter that ended two weeks ago: $18 billion -- a 47% increase from Sept. 2009.
"We hadn't girded ourselves for a mammoth revenue forecast," wrote Oppenheimer's Yair Reiner the next day, "and neither, we believe, had the Street."
Like most analysts who follow Apple, Reiner assumed that Oppenheimer had abandoned his usual practice of low-balling the company's forward-looking statements and was trying to blow a little smoke up the Street's skirt. In the previous three quarters, Apple had beaten its own revenue guidance by an average of 19.3%. That would suggest actual Q4 revenues of nearly $21.5 billion -- a number Financial Alchemist's Turley Muller described at the time as "too mind-blowing to even contemplate."
A week after Oppenheimer's report, the Street's Q4 revenue consensus, according to Thomson Financial, was $18.29 billion -- a measly 1.6% beat. See Who buys Apple's $18+ billion quarter?
Three months and a few million iPhones and iPads later, most Apple watchers have changed their tune.
Of the nine blogger-analysts we polled, all but two expect Apple to report earnings of $20 billion or more, including Muller who's put his marker on $20.313 billion. Among the 21 professional analysts polled, only one --Rodman & Renshaw's Ashok Kumar -- has crossed that divide. On Thursday, Reiner hiked his estimate to $19.864 billion. The Street's consensus is $18.76 billion.
In the chart above, we've combined the pros and the bloggers to get an average estimate of $19.34 billion.
Below: The revenue and earnings-per-share numbers we've gathered so far. We'll find out whose were closest after the closing bell on Monday Oct. 18th.
|Robert Paul Leitao, Apple Finance Board||21.49||4.70|
|Nicolae Mihalache, Traderhood||20.95||4.98|
|Daniel Tello, Deagol's AAPL Model||20.56||4.73|
|Horace Dediu, Asymco||20.50||5.00|
|Alexis Cabot, Apple Finance Board||20.41||4.76|
|Turley Muller, Financial Alchemist||20.31||4.61|
|Jeff Fosberg, Apple Finance Board||20.01||4.79|
|Dennis Hildebrand, Apple's Gold||19.53||4.40|
|Andy Zaky, Bullish Cross||19.11||4.45|
|Wall Street Analysts||Revenue||EPS|
|Ashok Kumar, Rodman & Renshaw||20.10||4.40|
|Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer||19.90||4.41|
|Robert Cihra, Caris & Co.||19.80||4.36|
|Shaw Wu, Kaufman Bros.||19.26||4.12|
|Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank||19.19||4.10|
|Ben Reitzes, Barclays Capital||19.18||3.91|
|Scott Craig, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch||19.16||4.11|
|Doug Reid, Stifel Nicholaus||19.11||4.15|
|Rajesh Ghai, Think Equity||19.08||4.06|
|Jeff Fidacaro, Susquehanna||19.05||4.07|
|Keith Bachman, BMO Capital||18.97||3.92|
|Ralph Schackart, William Blair||18.89||4.03|
|Matthew Hoffman, Cowen & Co.||18.81||4.05|
|T. Michael Walkley, Canaccord Genuity||18.76||4.02|
|Mark Moskowitz, J.P. Morgan||18.71||4.20|
|Alex Gauna, JMP Securities||18.70||4.20|
|Brian Marshall, Gleacher & Co.||18.54||4.05|
|Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley||18.50||4.07|
|William Fearnley, Janney Capital||18.40||4.04|
|Nehal Chokshi, Technology Insights||18.38||4.12|
|Tavis McCourt, Morgan Keegan||18.32||4.03|
|Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray||18.00||3.72|
. . .
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]