Shares of Apple ( AAPL 2.19% ) declined 18.4% in November, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the tech juggernaut announced strong fiscal fourth-quarter 2018 results but followed with underwhelming forward guidance.
To be sure, Apple shares fell almost 7% on Nov. 2 alone -- the first trading day after its earnings release hit the wires. In it, the company revealed quarterly revenue had climbed 20% year over year to a staggering $62.9 billion, translating to 41% growth in earnings per share to $2.91.
With the exception of Apple's iPad line, where sales declined 15% to $4.1 billion, its top-line growth was broad-based. Revenue from Apple's core iPhone segment jumped 29% to $37.2 billion, despite iPhone unit sales remaining roughly flat at 46.9 million devices -- a happy consequence of consumers' shift toward higher-priced smartphones. Apple's higher-margin services segment also saw revenue climb 17% to $10 billion, its flagship Mac business deliver 3% growth to $7.4 billion, and revenue from all other products -- namely including Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats, iPod, and HomePod products -- soar31% to $4.2 billion.
As such, Apple managed to generate jaw-dropping operating cash flow of $19.5 billion this quarter, while simultaneously returning more than $23 billion to shareholders via dividends and repurchases.
So why the decline? For one, Apple provided guidance for revenue in the current first quarter of fiscal 2019 to be between $89 billion and $93 billion, representing a significant deceleration in year-over-year growth to between roughly 1% and 5%.
It also likely didn't help that, during the subsequent conference call, Apple management told investors the company will no longer provide unit-sales data for its iPhone, iPad, and Mac segments going forward. The move effectively stirred concerns over whether Apple is attempting to mask unfavorable unit-sales trends for those three key product lines.
Still, investors shouldn't forget we're talking about a massively profitable business that's set to enjoy the positive supplemental influence of its burgeoning services and "other products" segments. After coupling those catalysts with Apple's ambitious capital returns initiatives, I think the pullback has offered long-term investors an attractive buying opportunity today.