Friday, April 22, 2011

Pro analysts' "lazy eye" - charted

Sorry for taking so long to post about Apple's fiscal 2Q 2011 results. By now everyone surely has all their answers, so I'll keep it short (and you can get the gritty details in the tables below). Compared to my estimates, a huge iPad miss ($1.6b) partly offset by iPhone upside ($1.1b), among lesser effects, resulted in almost $600m revenue miss. All of it was made up through lower costs hitting operating income within 0.2%, and nailing pre-tax income. Slightly lower tax rate and share dilution than expected resulted in EPS 8 cents (1.2%) higher than expected. All margin ratios were slightly better than expected. Revenue guidance roughly inline but EPS guidance significantly higher than expected, which suggests continued high margins. Here's all the details:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Which analysts are the biggest sandbaggers - charted

Over the past year or so I've been tracking all of us analyst performance in forecasting Apple's financial metrics, and ranking us based on the 6 or 7 categories of estimates compiled by Fortune's Apple 2.0 blogger Philip Elmer-DeWitt, and the outcome has always been a consistent underperformance by pros (see hereherehere and here). The comparison and friendly "competition" has almost become laughable, if it weren't for the serious amount of capital that these "professional" analysts look over, and thus the effect of their cluelessness on Apple's share price gets felt.

However, all this time I've been applying a somewhat forgiving methodology on my rankings. By averaging out all the categories with equal weights, the resulting score improperly reflects the relative importance and sensitivity on the stock price of these variables. It should be clear to all investors that forecasting earnings and revenue is most critical, while the number of iPods sold has very little effect (for quite a few years now) on Apple's financial performance. Yet by applying the same weight to these, the effect of the most important metrics gets watered-down by the less important ones so the analyst scores and thus the rankings do not reflect what investors should be focusing on out of all the stuff analysts throw out there.