Apple Reports Higher-Than-Expected Q4 Results

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) reported fourth-quarter results today, beating analyst estimates on earnings per share, revenue, and gross profit margin. The company earned $8.26 per diluted share on $37.5 billion in revenue, compared with consensus analyst estimates for $7.97 in per-share earnings on $36.95 in revenue. Gross profit margin was 37%, barely beating estimates of 36.9%

Apple continues to face tough year-over-year comparisons, making growth difficult. The company reported its fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year EPS declines (though Apple's first quarter of 2013 would have probably had a positive comparison if the quarter wasn't one week shorter). EPS declined 4.7% from the year-ago quarter. Gross profit margin also declined, contracting by 300 basis points from 40% in the year-ago quarter. Notably, however, gross profit is up sequentially by 10 basis points.

Apple's median revenue guidance for its first quarter of 2014 came in higher than the Street's consensus estimates. The company guided for $55 billion to $58 billion in revenue for the first quarter, while the current consensus estimate for the first quarter's revenue is $55.65 billion.

The big number for the quarter was the company's iPhones. Apple sold about 33.8 million iPhones, up 26% from the year-ago quarter, and good enough to beat analyst estimates for 32.7 million iPhones.

Shares are down slightly in after-market trading hours.

Listen to a replay of Apple's fourth-quarter conference call here.

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