Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Fiscal 1Q 2023 Final Estimates

As of today's most recent price of $142.50, AAPL trades at a 20.3x multiple on my NTM EPS estimate (19.8x when excluding NTM net cash and dividends).

Kept the long-term (beyond FY24) growth rate for revenue at mid single-digits and EPS back to high single-digits helped by strong margins and buybacks leverage. Some investors have been wondering whether the buyback authorization might stop once the "net cash zero" goal gets reached (we're practically there already at $49b cash net of debt when compared to the market cap near 50x that figure). This concern is just silly. Apple will generate over $90b in free cash flow (excludes capex) this year and that will continue to grow with earnings. Regressing back into the black hole of hoarding it is out of the question, and returning it all through dividends would require an immediate 6x increase on the current level this year, which is ridiculous. However, I do expect a slight pick up in the dividend raise pace to double-digit growth from the mid-high single digits growth of the last several years.

In the short term, last quarter appears to me a temporary plateau in growth, mostly due to one-time manufacturing stoppages and slowing Services growth. However, Services should continue to grow faster than company-wide growth, surpassing 20% share of revenues this year and reaching $100b by 2024. Overall, I expect high single digit/strong double-digit growth in revenues/EPS for the remaining 3 quarters of the Fiscal Year.

Analysts have shifted from a weak first half of 2023 to now expecting a flat or declining full year and even continued weakness into next year, but I think they've overdone it given Apple's historical resiliency during weak economic cycles. In addition, the market valuation has already been reset during last year to reflect more uncertain economic conditions for the next year or two, and this too shall pass, so I'm holding the 24x long-term multiple steady.

Detailed estimates:

3mo ending Dec22  Rev$B   GM%  $EPS
----------------  -----  ----  ----
Analysts consens  121.2     -  1.94
My estimates      123.6  43.4  2.06 (16.01b shares)