So let’s see how the market takes this tomorrow.
Today stocks staged an impressive upside more. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 1.89% and the NASDAQ Composite ended the day 1.78% higher. The small cap Russell 2000 was the day’s best performer with a gain of 2.67%.
Well, the October jobs report released at 8:30 will certainly help set the tone for the day with a weak report likely to reinforce the belief that the Federal Reserve is done aiding interest rates.
But given how much of the recent bounce has been fueled by a return of optimism about technology stocks, it’s likely that Apple’s disappointing results, announced after the close of trading today, Thursday, November 2, will determine the direction of the trend.
That’s if investors and traders can’t somehow spin bad news into gold.
Apple’s earnings came in at $1.46 a share for the quarter, edging the $1.39 forecast.
But Apple reported that sales for the fiscal fourth quarter dropped for a fourth straight quarter. That’s the longest slide in 22 years. Revenue fell to $89.5 billion in the fourth quarter. And Apple warned that revenue in the holiday quarter will be about the same as last year. iPhone unit volume is expected to be the same as in the holiday quarter of 2022, but higher prices will push iPhone revenue higher. Wall Street had projected revenue growth of about 5% in the quarter, which is Apple’s biggest sales period of the year. Revenue from the iPad and the company’s wearables category, which includes its smartwatch line, will drop significantly during the quarter, Apple said.
After rising 2.07% during trading during regular hours, the shares fell by 2.76% in after-hours trading.
The problem looks to be China and that problem doesn’t look susceptible to an easy fix. The Chinese government has imposed bans on U.S. technology, including iPhones, in some workplaces, and a new phone from Huawei Technologies is taking market share. Revenue from China came to $15.1 billion in the quarter, down slightly from a year earlier and well short of the $17 billion analysts had predicted. Revenue from the region declined 2.2% in the just-ended fiscal year.
Apple’s results provide a new context for good news from Qualcomm (QCOM), the leading maker of smartphone chips. On Wednesday, the company forecast stronger sales for the current quarter than analysts expected, kicking off a rally for its stock. But Qualcomm also noted that its smartphone chip unit saw a 35% increase from Chinese phone makers. That suggests rising sales to Chinese consumers of non-Apple phones.
Apple’s services unit continued to be a major strength, generating $22.3 billion in sales. That beat the Wall Street target of $21.4 billion. The company raised the prices for Apple TV+, Arcade and News+ last month, to late to affect this report.