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Apple’s stock may have overshot expectations
28 january 2015

Stock has climbed 10% since end of September, while earnings estimates have increased 9.3%

Are investors expecting too much from Apple’s earnings?

Apple’s stock may have rallied a bit too far too fast when compared with the pace of earnings growth expectations, according to an analyst at OTAS Technologies.

Since Apple’s fourth quarter ended in September, the stock AAPL, +6.46% has run up 10% — though it declined 3.5% on Tuesday — while the S&P 500 indexSPX, -1.34% has gained 3% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 indexNDX, -2.58% has advanced 3.2%.

Fiscal 2015 earnings estimates have increased 9.3% in the same time.

Simon Maughan, head of the product specialist group at market-data analytics company OTAS, sent the following chart to show the stock and the 12-months forward consensus earnings estimate of analysts have moved mostly in line over the past five years — until recently.

OTAS Technologies

Apple’s stock rises past expectations.

“The relationship hints that Apple is a little toppy relative to the trend in expected earnings ahead of [Tuesday’s] release,” Maughan said.

While he said the company could very well pull another of its “rabbits out of the hat” and beat expectations by a large margin, again, and with some of the investment community snowed in and not able to respond, the company’s results “may provide the ideal opportunity for some increased volatility in Apple shares.”

History suggests investors have a reason to be on edge.

Apple’s per-share earnings have beaten the FactSet consensus of analysts’ estimates over the past eight quarters by an average of 5%. But the stock hasn’t always responded in kind, as it has declined four times on the day after results.

Apple beat earnings estimates for its the last two fiscal first-quarter results, but the stock fell 8% on Jan. 28, 2014, and 12% on Jan. 24, 2013, as other metrics disappointed.

Tomi Kilgore

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