BTC Capital Management Inc. Decreases Stake in Apple (AAPL)

Alicia Guzman
May 3, 2018

Apple also promised to hike its dividend by 16 percent and to buyback $100 billion worth of additional stock, which analysts said would create a floor for shares.

The $22.8 billion that Apple Inc. showered on shareholders in the form of buybacks from January through March is a record, according to a tally by Standard & Poor's.

"Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter", said Cook.

"This is the first cycle we've had where the top-of-the-line iPhone model has also been the most popular", Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.

On paper, Apple's "Other Products" comprised of AirPods, the Apple Watch and HomePod speakers saw the most growth, with its $9.1bn (up 31 per cent) and $3.95bn (up 38 per cent) supposedly drawn from wearables.

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Apple will complete the execution of the previous $210 billion share repurchase authorisation during the third fiscal quarter. Purchases from the App Store hit an all-time revenue record in March, while paid subscription for Apple Music surpassed the 40 million mark.

As long as Apple continues to sell around the same number of devices each year - 217 million iPhones, more than 40 million iPads, and nearly 20 million Macs in fiscal 2017 - it can sell users of these devices a growing list of services that integrate tightly with the hardware.

In fact, it's worth noting that worldwide sales accounted for 65 per cent of Apple's revenue during the quarter.

Navkendar Singh, associate research director in research firm IDC, said, "Apple's commentary signals the importance of India as a market and its efforts to expand its footprint in the country as markets like China have slowed down for them".

Heading into the quarter, some analysts had expressed worry about lackluster demand for Apple's latest version of the iPhone, the iPhone X.

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Cook said the iPhone X was its topseller during the quarter, including in key markets like China. Apple said revenue in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong had risen 21 per cent to US$13 billion, the largest increase in 10 quarters.

Barclays maintained its Equal Weight rating on Apple shares but still raised its target price to $161 from $157.

Although Cook would not provide specific sales figures for the iPhone X, he stressed that the performance should be viewed as a sign of strength regardless of the details. At one point, he provided a laundry list of accomplishments that makes him "very bullish on Apple's future" - including dramatic growth in the services business, a "huge" installed base of active devices, and "the best pipeline of products and services [Apple's] ever had".

The biggest overhaul of the USA tax code in more than 30 years, the new law slashes the corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35% and charges multinationals a one-time tax on profits held overseas. For the April-June quarter, the company forecasts revenues between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion, compared to analysts prediction of $51.6 billion. Wall Street expected $60.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. In fact, they went as far as to say that it will be discontinued in 2018 and Apple will focus entirely on the new lineup.

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