Saturday, July 26, 2014

Apple's Game Of Inches

On Friday, July 25, 2014, Apple’s share price reached a 52-week closing high of $97.67. This was also the highest split-adjusted closing price since September 24, 2012 and within range of the all-time high closing price of $100.30 set on September 19, 2012.

From the closing high of 100.30 on September 19, 2012 to the closing share price nadir of $55.79 on April 19, 2013 to Friday’s closing price of $97.67, it’s been a startling roller coaster ride for Apple’s long-term shareholders. It’s simply a matter of time before Apple’s share price vaults above its previous all-time closing high and begins an ongoing series of new records.

Despite the share price volatility of the past two years, Apple’s growth moving forward will be best seen in sublime advances of technologies and less in sharp spikes and slides in revenue and earnings growth rates that have characterized the past four years of the company’s financial performance.

Apple is engaged in a game of inches and has entered an era that will again reward long-term shareholders for their conviction, patience and grit. 

Apple’s Return To Glory
While much attention has been placed on Apple’s recent 7-for-1 stock split, the share price rise from the closing price on the first day of post-split trading on June 9, 2014 of $93.70 to Friday's closing price represents a share price gain of 4.24%.

However, the share price rise from the closing price immediately prior to the release of March quarter results on April 23, 2014 has been 30.29%. Apple’s return to organic net growth income growth has delivered extraordinary share price gains in just over three months. Apple has now concluded two consecutive quarters of net income growth following a four-quarter slide in underlying profitability. 

The graph below illustrates the company’s net income performance over the most recent nineteen fiscal quarters. Rising net income is and will remain the primary catalyst for Apple’s share price appreciation.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Apple's Latent Rates Of Revenue Growth

For the fiscal year ending in late September, Apple is on track to deliver reported revenue of over $182 billion versus reported revenue in the prior fiscal year of $170.91 billion. In dollar terms, revenue growth in the range of $12 billion appears more impressive than the underlying revenue growth rate of between 6% and 7%. However, there are factors at work which will lead to faster rates of revenue growth in the new fiscal year beginning this fall. I will delve into a few of these factors in this article. 

Apple’s Revenue Mix
The graph below illustrates Apple’s revenue mix for the first half of the fiscal year ending in September.

For the six-month period ended in June, the iPhone and iPad lines represented 75.20% of Apple’s reported revenue total of $103.24 billion. While Apple’s aggregate revenue rose 5.22%, the combined iPhone and iPad lines delivered revenue growth of 6.31%, the Mac line realized 8.64% revenue growth year-over-year and the combined iTunes/Software/Services & Accessories segments achieved revenue growth of 11.29%. The iPod line, in contrast, experienced a 53.82% decline in revenue. The iPod line’s revenue decline in the six-month period was $1.671 billion. iPod line revenue fell from $3.105 billion in the first six months of FY2013 to $1.434 billion in the first half of FY2014. 

Apple’s Unit Sales Growth Rates By Product Line
The graph below illustrates the unit sales growth of Apple’s major product lines from FQ1 2011 through FQ2 2014. While there has been obvious moderation in the unit sales growth rates of the iPhone and iPad lines over this time, iPod unit sales have been in decline throughout the fourteen-quarter period.

Product Line ASPs
The graph below illustrates the average selling prices for each of Apple’s major product lines over the same fourteen-quarter period. Although the introduction of the iPad mini in late 2012 (FQ1 2013) reduced the average selling price of iPads, Apple has been able to keep the ASPs on iPhones and Macintosh PCs consistently high even as unit sales growth rates have moderated over the past several quarters.

It was recently announced iPads and iPhones will again be sold through Costco. Walmart, in a high-profile move, has reduced the prices on iPhone 5 series handsets sold through the bricks and mortar stores when accompanied by a two-year contract. Apple is expanding the domestic sales reach of its current iPhone and iPad models ahead of the expected fall product refresh cycle.