Wall Street expects record results. The independent analysts are calling for a blowout
FORTUNE -- Savvy Apple (AAPL) investors know that the company's share price often gets dragged down in advance of its quarterly earnings reports -- only to spring back even higher when Apple delivers its usual earnings surprises. (See Cocking the Apple slingshot.)
But the stock's collapse over the past two weeks has even veteran traders scratching their heads. It MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 21, 2012 11:50 AM ET
The estimates range from 26 to 44 million. The best analysts' consensus: 35 million.
The most important metric for Apple (AAPL) in the quarter that ended two weeks ago -- likely to account for more than half of the company's revenue for fiscal Q2 2012 -- is the number of iPhones it sold from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31.
We've polled 48 analysts -- evenly divided between professional and independent -- and the indies, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 16, 2012 5:00 AM ET
How exactly did Brian White come up with that number?
When last we heard from Ticonderoga's Brian White, a few hours after Apple (AAPL) reported its Q1 2012 earnings, he was reiterating the 12-month price target he had set the previous July: "Apple crushes even the most optimistic expectations," he wrote. "$666 here we come."
Two days later, Ticonderoga closed up shop.
On Monday White resurfaced at a new firm, Topeka Capital, with a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 2, 2012 11:33 AM ET
The difference in their quarterly forecasts has never been so great
In the three and a half years that I've been pitting the analysts who cover Apple (AAPL) for Wall Street against the growing cadre of independent analysts who do it for fun (and, presumably, their own profit), I've never seen a gap this big -- either in dollar or percentage terms.
According to Thomson/First Call, the published consensus of 42 professional analysts MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 1, 2012 8:16 AM ET
But even at $600 a share, the company's stock price still seems out of whack
Apple's (AAPL) second fiscal quarter ends Saturday, and although the market spent Friday morning knocking the stuffing out of its share price (Apple fell back below $600 in mid-morning trading), Wall Street remains bullish on Tim Cook's company.
How do we know? We've watched the analysts' Q2 estimates for Apple climb more than 24% in the past MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 30, 2012 11:40 AM ET
There is a precedent: iPhone sales have doubled, on average, every year since 2007
The chief difference between the independent analysts who follow Apple (AAPL) and their counterparts on Wall Street is that the independents put a premium on being right.
The professionals, with all due respect, seem to care more about not over-promising or straying too far from the consensus. (See here, here and here, for example.)
So investors who want informed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 22, 2012 5:20 AM ET
We'll find out Monday, one half hour before the market opens
Tim Cook has scheduled a conference call for 9 a.m. EDT Monday to answer the question Wall Street has been asking -- repeatedly, and with increasing insistence -- for years: What does the company plan to do with its enormous stockpile of cash and marketable securities, worth just under $100 billion as of the last quarterly report.
Mr. Market will be MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 18, 2012 7:23 PM ET
As of Wednesday morning Morgan Stanley's and Oppenheimer's were under water
Most sell-side Apple (AAPL) analysts are conservative in their earnings estimates but bullish in their price targets. According to Thomson/First Call, the Street high target this week is $700 and the median is a dollar short of $600. (The independent analysts are even more optimistic; the biggest number we've seen is Robert Paul Leitao's $790.)
But with Apple topping $525 in heavy MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 15, 2012 10:48 AM ET
Like the tortoise in Achilles' footrace, they may be perpetually unreachable goals
"There's scant evidence that the stock market itself has paid much if any attention to analysts' price targets in recent years," writes Needham's Charlie Wolf in a note to clients Thursday that raises his own Apple (AAPL) target $80 to $620.
He's got a point. the average target among the two-dozen analysts we sampled on October 19, the day after Apple's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 9, 2012 9:14 AM ET
Two ways of seeing how well (or badly) the pros and amateurs predict Apple's earnings
We've been trying for several years to find the best way to show how much better the so-called amateur analysts (some of whom have since gone pro) are at estimating Apple's (AAPL) quarterly revenue and earnings than the Wall Street professionals who do it for the big banks and brokerage firms.
Now Asymco's Horace Dediu, who is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 6, 2012 10:59 AM ET
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