Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) finally did it. The consumer-tech giant offered up what could be considered the first blowout quarter of the Tim Cook era, leading Apple shares to post their largest single-day gain in more than two years.
Apple's profit of $11.62 a share was well above the $10.18 analysts were targeting, making this Apple's first double-digit percentage beat in several quarters. Margins expanded, with net income growing faster than sales.
But the report wasn't perfect. A 5% uptick in sales isn't exactly going to re-establish Apple as a growth stock, and the 17% surge in iPhone sales was offset by a problematic decline in iPads. However, Apple came through when it needed to the most. Lacking the first breakthrough product since the end of the Steve Jobs era, Cook and his crew have been posting uninspiring financial results in recent quarters. An important contributor to the quarter's success was Cook's aggressive share buybacks that have helped prop up profitability on a per-share basis. This strategy is why earnings per share soared 15% off a mere 7% uptick in net income.
Well played, Apple.
Briefly in the news
And now let's look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) helped boost the profile of its Prime Instant Video offering by landing content licensing rights to begin streaming older HBO shows. Grabbing classics including The Wire, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under -- as well as access to older seasons of some current shows -- could be a game changer. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Amazon isn't afraid to spend money now to grow its audience later. It proved that later int he week by posting a 19% decline in operating income for its latest quarter despite a 23% pop in net sales.
- Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) probably didn't appreciate seeing Amazon grab the valuable HBO content, but it had no problem growing in its latest quarter. There are now more than 48.3 million streaming subscribers worldwide relying on Netflix for video entertainment. Netflix also revealed that the price increase for new members that it's been hinting at in recent months will finally go into effect later this quarter.
- Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM ) is still cashing in on the smartphone revolution. The success of its multi-mode 3G and LTE chips helped Qualcomm achieve revenue and earnings growth of 4% and 8% respectively in its latest quarter. It sees growth accelerating through the balance of the year on both ends of the income statement, raising its forecast for 2014.
Learning from the past helps you spot hot trends in the future
Every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big -- like buying PC maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom, or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hypergrowth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure play" and then watch as it grows in explosive fashion within its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 trillion industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.