Apple, Inc. (AAPL) Earnings Preview: Analysts Weigh In

Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to announce its third quarter fiscal 2015 earnings results on Tuesday, July 21 after market close. Analysts expect Apple to post $1.80 earnings per share and $49.26 billion in revenue for the quarter, with a gross margin of just under 40%.

If Apple meets these predictions, it would mark yet another record quarter for the technology giant that now dominates the electronics marketplace. The expected gains in the next quarter follow a successful 12 months for the company in which its market capitalization topped $700 billion for the first time.

One of the main focuses of Apple’s Q3 earnings will be iPhone sales, which comprised nearly 70% of Apple’s revenue from the second quarter. The analyst consensus for iPhone units sold has increased from 43 million units to around 49 million units in the third quarter, proving the company’s brand recognition within the smartphone industry.

Apple’s newest products, the Apple Watch and Apple Music, will also post sales numbers for the first time since they were both launched. While at first there was a lot of positive hysteria surrounding the Apple Watch launch, the product’s sales have steadily decreased since its introduction in the market, causing many analysts to believe it will yield low revenue for Apple.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in on Apple on July 19 in light of the company’s upcoming earnings, reiterating an Overweight rating on the stock with a $162 price target. Munster expects “continued strength in iPhone unit growth” will lead to positive Q3 numbers. Furthermore, he believes that “the company’s high-end of guidance [will] be in-line with the Street’s Sep-15 expectations” based on projected sales.

On average, Gene Munster has a 72% success rate recommending stocks with a +26.5% return per rating when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. Munster has rated Apple 145 times since 2009, earning an 80% success rate recommending the stock and a 30.5% return per rating.

UBS analyst Steve Milunovich likewise reiterated a Buy rating on Apple on July 16 with a $150 price target, ahead of Apple’s Q3 earnings. While Milunovich noted that “a slowing Chinese economy is a risk for Apple,” he noted that according to UBS economist Tao Wang, “stock gains are a low percentage of average household income in China” thereby mitigating the possible consequences to Apple stock. Furthermore, he highlighted successful projected iPhone sales as a motivation for his bullish rating.

On average, Steven Milunovich has a 58% success rate recommending stocks with a +6.1% return per rating when measured over one year and no benchmark. Milunovich has rated Apple 62 times since 2009, earning a 71% success rate recommending the stock and a 13.2% return per rating.

Out of 37 analysts polled by TipRanks, 24 analysts are bullish, 11 are neutral, and two are bearish on Apple stock. The 12-month average price target for Apple is $152.07, marking a 15.69% potential upside from where the stock is currently trading. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Apple is Moderate Buy.

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