updated 02:15 pm EDT, Thu October 19, 2006
ML on Apple's Q4
Research firm Merill Lynch today advised investors that Apple's September quarter revealed a solid upside, signaling a bright future for the Mac and iPod maker moving forward. "Apple reported iPod units of 8.7 million, about 1 million above our 7.7 million estimate and Mac units of 1.6 million vs. our 1.5 million estimate," wrote Merill Lynch analyst Richard Farmer. "Revenue of $4.84 billion was 3.8 percent above our $4.61 billion estimate. Earnings-per-share of $0.55 (excluding a tax benefit of $0.06) beat our estimate and consensus of $0.51." Farmer believes Apple's revenue outlook for December of $6.1 billion -- 6 percent below the analyst's original $6.5 billion estimate -- looks conservative. The firm raised its earnings-per-share estimate for December by $0.02 to $0.77, tweaked its base case fiscal year 2007 earnings-per-share estimate from $2.65 to $2.71, and bumped its fiscal year 2008 estimate from $3.54 to $3.62. Merill Lynch reiterated its "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a price objective of $88.