Apple stock climbed $4 after news of its record December quarter on trading yesterday, but quickly lost gains as investors considered its conservative second quarter target.
Apple chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, yesterday revealed the firm to have achieved $7.1 billion in revenue for a $1 billion profit in its first 2007 quarter.
However, he offered a seemingly conservative target for the current quarter: "We expect revenue of $4.8 to $4.9 billion and earnings per diluted share of $.54 to $.56," he explained.
The second quarter is traditionally slower than the first. Apple management is potentially anticipating slower iPod sales as a result of pent-up demand for the June (third quarter) launch of the iPhone. Apple's new 'Leopard' OS is likely also to ship in the third quarter, or very late in the second. The current quarter runs from January to March.
In the pro markets, Apple is awaiting the release of Adobe CS3, which company management last night confirmed they felt may have a possible impact on professional Mac sales.
Despite these misgivings, Mac sales continue to grow at above industry average rates, and iPod dominates in most markets. It's possible the target figures err on the side of caution, as Apple faces heavy Microsoft and partner marketing in the current quarter, following the January launch of Vista.
Analysts at JP Morgan this morning responded to the conservative targets, downgrading their rating on Apple stock to "neutral" from "overweight". While Q1 Apple earnings exceeded their expectations, they pointed out that Mac sales (1.6 million) had missed their target 1.9 million figure, and warned that iPod sales may slow.
The company's stock currently stands at $94.95.