USA TODAY: Apple Beats On Earnings, But Outlook Murky

Source: Matt Krantz / USA Today

Apple narrowly reported better-than-expected earnings of $10.09 a share, causing investors to wonder if the company might be able to turn itself around despite the maturation of the smartphone market.

Investors were calling for Apple to report adjusted earnings of $10 a share on revenue of $42.4 billion, says S&P Capital IQ. But signs of slowing growth and falling profit margins all underscore why analysts have turned so pessimistic on the company’s longer-term future.

Investors were initially relieved at the news, as they’ve been fearing something worse since pushing the stock down from its high of more than $700 a share. Shares gained roughly 4% in early afterhours trading. Before the earnings release, shares closed Tuesday up $7.46 to $406.13.

Apple, too, took some moves to quell the growing skepticism of the stock. It boosted its dividend by 15% to $3.05 a share and increased the stock buyback program to $60 billion from $10 billion. Apple is now the largest dividend payer today and of all time on a non-inflation adjusted basis, says Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indexes.

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