Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fiscal 4Q 2017 Final Estimates

As of Friday's market close of $164.05, AAPL is trading at a 15.1x multiple on my next-twelve-months EPS estimate (12.0x when excluding next-12m net cash and div).

I decided to challenge myself by posting my final estimates nearly two months instead of the usual two weeks or so before the report because the events during these two months (keynote, launch, ramp, and report) appear to be some of the most influential for Apple in years, with significant details like precise launch timing, product pricing, reception and supply sufficiency, all helpful in correctly estimating the final few days of Fiscal 2017, the initial shape of the much hyped 2018 supercycle, and a first glimpse into the sort of tough compare arguments looking into 2019 that inevitably will be raised as soon as Q1 guidance is provided (in fact this has already been happening).

It may seem counter-productive to attempt estimates before all the critical events and information are in the past and can get digested and distilled into my model. Why not just do as usual and incorporate it all in mid October? There'd be absolutely no risk to the accuracy of my final estimates by waiting. On the contrary, coming out early leaves the forecast at the mercy of some of my most subjective, perhaps some conservative, others more hopeful, and possibly even a few strained assumptions. Like, what if the launch is on the last two days of Q4 and not the week before? Or what if Apple announces record-smashing pre-orders or sales that would clearly call for adjustments in both Q4 and Q1 numbers? Or if the event disappoints some tech pundits who take it to the interwebs with rage against Apple? (Ok that one's a given, of course.) Maybe some manufacturing glitch turns up in early October and phones start blowing up in flames? OMG! (Even though Samsung came out nearly unscathed from that, Apple would be crucified. But no, that won't happen.) Or, they call it the iFacePhone? *facepalm*