Apple (APPL:NASDAQ) reported disappointing quarterly results that ended its three-year streak of sales and profit records, capping an earnings season in which the world’s biggest technology companies mostly struggled to shake off a post-pandemic hangover.
The iPhone maker announced its first quarterly revenue decline in nearly four years as manufacturing disruptions in China curbed its ability to deliver premium iPhones. Its results came the same day that Amazon.com Inc. reported growth that, while beating expectations, nonetheless concerned investors, because of slowdowns in its online shopping and cloud computing businesses, and Google parent Alphabet Inc. said it was hit by a broad slowdown in the digital ad market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said three factors hurt the results: a strong dollar, production issues in China affecting the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the overall macroeconomic environment.
“On the third factor, I would say was just the challenging macroeconomic environment, and you’re hearing that from, I would think, everybody,” Cook said.
The quarter was a stunning miss by Apple, and its first earnings miss versus consensus expectations in almost seven years. In fact, it was only its second revenue miss since August 2017, with sales coming in more than 3% below consensus expectations.
It also represented a regression from Apple’s success over the past two years driven by a need for new computers to work and go to school from home. It was Apple’s first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline since 2019 and the biggest annual quarterly revenue drop since September 2016.
Apple shares dropped over 4% at one point during extended trading on Thursday before rising after the tech giant provided data about outlook for the current quarter. The company’s data points suggested iPhone sales won’t decline as rapidly as they did during the holiday quarter.
Apple did not provide guidance for the current quarter ending in March. It hasn’t provided guidance since 2020, at first citing uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Analysts expected the company to guide to about $98 billion in sales in the company’s fiscal second quarter.
Apple ‘s reports are a contrast to that of Meta Platforms (META:NASDAQ) which issued results and guidance that—along with an expanded share-buyback plan. Meta’s stock soared 23% Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage gain since 2013, helping lift other tech shares.
The stock gained $92 billion in market cap Thursday, its biggest one-day gain on record, according to Dow Jones Market Data. That also put it back with the top 10 largest U.S. companies by market cap.
Meta shares sit at their highest point since September 2022, with the company beating topline estimates with $32.17 billion in revenue. However, beneath the surface, things weren’t great for Meta in the fourth quarter. The company posted a 55% decline in net profit from the year before. But investors are more focused on the year ahead.
But there are to early signs of improvement. Meta expects lower costs in 2023 and forecast that first-quarter revenue would exceed sales during the same period in 2021, before Apple introduced privacy measures that curtailed revenue by cutting off the company’s access to data.
Meta said it expects revenue in the first quarter of between $26 billion and $28.5 billion. Analysts were expecting sales of $27.1 billion. Sales in the first quarter of 2021 came in at $27.9 billion. Should Meta reach the high end of its guidance range, the company could end its streak of year-over-year declines.
Meta also added that it was buying back an added $40 billion in shares. The company bought back $27.9 billion worth of its shares last year.
Meta was among the notable losers last year. Its stock fell 64% to shed some $600 billion in market value, as Meta was hit hard by heightened competition from TikTok and a slump in the digital ad market