Apple Extends Its Winning Streak with Q1 2018 Earnings

Apple Inc., on Tuesday, beat revenue and profit expectations in its March quarter as it sold 52.2 million iPhones.

The Cupertino based company posted a revenue of $61.1 billion for its March quarter, up from $52.9 billion last year. Wall Street expected $60.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company sold 52.2 million iPhones versus expectations of 52.3 million, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, up from 50.7 million last year.

The company also predicted a revenue range of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion for the June quarter, with a midpoint ahead of the $51.6 billion Wall Street expected.

Capital Return Program

Apple also boosted its capital return program by $100 billion, with repurchases from the increase set to begin in the June quarter. It also bought $23.5 billion of stock back in the March quarter, a sign that it is bringing back most of its hundreds of billions of dollars in cash to the United States.

The share repurchases in the March quarter drove Apple’s cash net of debt down slightly to $145 billion.

“We are returning the cash to investors as we have promised,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview.

Lower Sales Than Expected

Apple has been facing a challenging year with sales of its flagship iPhone X disappointing many observers. Investors have watched Apple closely in recent weeks as a string of poor forecasts from the smartphone supply chain signaled that iPhone demand may be lower than previously expected.

They have also been watching carefully for signs of what Apple plans to do with its hundreds of billions of dollars in cash.

Average selling prices for iPhones were $728, compared with Wall Street expectations of $742. Maestri told Reuters that clearing channel inventory of 1.8 million iPhones – most of them iPhone X and iPhone 8 models – accounted for some of the difference.

Profits were $2.73 per share versus expectations of $2.68 per share, up from $2.10 a year ago.

Other Businesses

Apple’s services business, which includes Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud, posted $9.1 billion in revenue compared.

In February, Apple said it planned to draw down its excess cash, though Chief Executive Tim Cook had downplayed the possibility of a special dividend.

But investors have had concerns around Apple because of brewing trade tensions with China. While there hasn’t been a tariff on devices such as Apple’s iPhone yet.