BMO: Apple may post huge Q4 miss

Apple Q4 2012 Earnings Preview

Apple crushed Wall Street’s estimates this past April when it reported that its fiscal second-quarter profit had ballooned 94% over the same quarter a year prior to $11.6 billion on $39.2 billion in sales. Apple’s third-quarter earnings are on tap later this month and while analysts wonder how well iPhone sales held up during the June quarter, one analyst is already looking to the September quarter and seeing trouble on the horizon.

BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman wrote in a research note on Tuesday that Apple’s second and third fiscal quarters could be “challenging,” Barron’s reports. While the world waits for a new iPhone to launch in September or October, Bachman notes that Apple’s performance may slow. He still reiterates an Outperform rating on Apple stock and he even raised his price target to $700 from $695, but he sees Apple potentially posting a massive miss for its final quarter of the fiscal year.

Bachmann thinks slowing iPhone sales and lower than expected Mac sales stunted by the success of the iPad could see Apple pull in $33 billion in revenue during the September quarter, well below Wall Street’s $38.5 billion consensus. He doesn’t see the miss impacting Apple’s stock for very long however, as investors will see the upcoming launch of Apple’s next iPhone as a huge boost.

“We think investors are well aware of the product cycle, and likely negative revision to near-term estimates,” Bachmann wrote. “Moreover, we think Apple shares will respond in a positive way to the pending launch of the new iPhone, as we look to year-end. If Apple is able to launch the new iPhone in the month of September, then actual unit shipments in the September Q will be less relevant, as management and investors will focus on the momentum of the new iPhone.”

Shares of Apple stock are down just under 1% today to $608.37.

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