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Apple’s Stock Drops 3% As iPhone Sales Continue To Slow

Apple’s (AAPL) stock is down 3% after the consumer technology company delivered fourth-quarter financial results that showed a continued slowdown in sales of its signature iPhone devices.

Notably, Apple reported a 13% decline in iPhone sales in China, one of the company’s most important and competitive markets.

Still, the company managed to beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines with its Q4 2023 results.

In the final three months of last year, Apple reported earnings per share (EPS) of $2.18 U.S. versus $2.10 U.S. that had been expected among analysts.

Revenue in the quarter totaled $119.58 billion U.S. compared to $117.91 billion U.S. that was forecast on Wall Street.

Apple’s revenue rose 2% year-over-year in the December quarter, breaking a streak of four consecutive quarters with annual revenue declines. This was Apple’s first full quarter with iPhone 15 revenue included.

Among its various product segments, Apple reported iPhone revenue of $69.70 billion U.S. versus $67.82 billion U.S. that was forecast.

Sales of the company’s MacBook computer came in at $7.78 billion U.S. compared to $7.73 billion U.S. expected. And iPad revenue totaled $7.02 billion U.S. compared to $7.33 billion U.S. that had been anticipated.

Apple’s services revenue, which includes its streaming platform and banking venture, amounted to $23.12 billion U.S. in Q4 2023 compared to analyst expectations of $23.35 billion U.S.

The company’s gross margin in the quarter was 45.9% versus 45.3% expected.

As is customary, Apple did not provide any forward guidance for the current first quarter of 2024 or all of this year.

However, on an earnings call, management said that they expect iPhone sales in the current quarter to be similar to last year’s $51.33 billion U.S. in revenue, and that services revenue should grow about 11%.

In Q4 2023, Apple showed sales growth in all regions of the world except for China, which is undergoing a pronounced economic slowdown and where Apple faces growing competition from domestic smartphone makers such as Huawei.

Apple spent nearly $27 billion U.S. on dividends and share buybacks in Q4 2023.

Prior to today, Apple’s stock had gained 24% in the last 12 months to trade at $186.86 U.S. per share.