Apple Just Made $9 Billion (And Investors Are Mad)

Jul 24, 2012
Originally published on July 26, 2012 8:30 am

Apple reported its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, and depending how you look at it, they're either amazing or disappointing.

The company says it made $8.8 billion in profits over the course of three months. That's more than enough to buy every share of Alcoa, the global aluminum giant, which was worth just under $8.6 billion when the stock market closed this afternoon.

Put another way, the computer company's profits were just about the same as Mongolia's entire economic output for all of last year, using World Bank GDP figures, and bigger than the output of the nations of Belize, Liberia, Bhutan, Guyana, Greenland and Guinea-Bissau combined.

In three months.

But the stock market is not happy about this: Since the company announced the news after the market closed this afternoon, Apple's shares have fallen by nearly $30, or just shy of 5%, in after-hours trading.

The problem, of course, is that investors wanted Apple to — hoped Apple would, even expected Apple to — make a good bit more.

They were looking for profits of $10.4 billion (a little bigger than Armenia's gross domestic product) and revenues of $37.2 billion, according to John Paczowski over at All Things Digital. Apple's revenue was a mere $35 billion (the economies of Latvia and Tajikistan, with enough left over to cover the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu).

Those revenue and profit numbers, incidentally, also make it easy to see how much of each dollar spent on Apple products goes to profit: about 25 percent.

That kind of profit margin is so good that it's hard to come up with a good yardstick for measuring it. When Fortune tallied the most profitable companies last year, only 19 companies on its Fortune 500 list matched or beat Apple's number for last quarter. (At the time, Apple's profit as a percent of revenue was just 23.9 percent).

Apple shares still trade for a little over $600 apiece, up from just over $398 a year ago. Disappointed Apple investors can presumably sell a couple shares, buy a new MacBook and maybe feel a little better about their investment.

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