The last days of January saw four of the biggest names in US high tech release their financial results. Here are the highlights for Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Tesla.
Earnings report date: 31 January
E-commerce and tech giantmay have underwhelmed commentators with its fourth-quarter and full-year results, but shares rallied as traders and investors preferred to look on the bright side. The stock had been trading at $1,670.43 on the eve of the results and ended 31 January at $1,718.73.
Net sales were up 20% in the fourth quarter, ending 31 December, at $72.4 billion, and net income was $3 billion, or $6.04 per share, against $1.9 billion and $3.75 a share in the last quarter of 2017.
For the full year, net sales rose 31% to $232.9 billion, while net income rose from $3 billion, or $6.15 per share, in 2017 to $10.1 billion or $20.14 a share. Amazon’s cash holding rose from $20.5 billion at the end of 2018 to $31.8 billion.
CNBC reported: “The better-than-expected fourth-quarter results…comes as investors fret about decelerating growth following two straight quarters of disappointing revenue.”
But Amazon forecast net sales in the first quarter of this year to be between 10% and 18% higher than in the first quarter of 2018, even after an expected unfavourable impact from exchange rates. But it warned that these forecasts “are subject to substantial uncertainty” because “our results are inherently unpredictable”.
Earnings report date: 29 January 2019
, once the darling of the tech sector, turned in a distinctly mixed set of results for the first quarter of its financial year, which ended on December 29. Earnings per share hit a record of $4.18, but quarterly revenue was down 5% from the same quarter a year ago, at $84.3 billion.
The shares took an initial tumble, but more than recovered. From $156.30 on 28 January they fell to $154.33 on the day of the results but were up at $166.44 on 31 January.
Overshadowing the results was declining revenue from the company’s one-time money-spinner, the iPhone, down 15% from the same period a year earlier. Commentators have suggested that consumers are no longer prepared to constantly upgrade to the latest model.
However, revenue from services was up 19% at a record $10.9 billion, while revenue from the Mac computer brand was 9% higher. The division covering wearable technology, home and accessories grew revenue by 33%, while revenue from the iPad rose by 17%.
“While it was disappointing to miss our revenue guidance, we manage Apple for the long term, and this quarter’s results demonstrate that the underlying strength of our business runs deep and wide,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
Earnings report date: 30 January
rounded off a year in which it has come under heavy criticism round the world with a strong set of financial results that cheered traders and investors. The social media giant lifted net income by 39% in the year to 31 December 2018 from $15.9 billion in 2017 to $22 billion, while revenue was 37% higher at $55.8 billion, against $40.7 billion in 2017.
Earnings per share were up 40% from $5.39 in 2017 to $7.57.
The great majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, which was up 38% from $39.9 billion in 2017 to $55 billion. The category “payments and other fees” saw a 16% increase from $711 million in 2017 to $825 million.
Shares rose from $144.19 ahead of the announcement to $166.69.
The last year has seen Facebook accused of allowing “fake news” to circulate and of violating users’ privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, said: “We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we're investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect."
Earnings report date: 30 January 2019
, a name synonymous with electric vehicles, cheered investors with a 134% rise in full-year revenues in the 12 months to 31 December 2018. The stock had been trading at $297.46 on the eve of the announcement, 29 January, and ended 31 January at $307.02.
Revenue rose to $6.3 billion during the year, from $2.7 billion, as Tesla’s Model 3 flew off America’s forecourts. It became the best-selling passenger car in the US in terms of revenue in both the third and fourth quarters of last year. The company added: “With nearly 140,000 units sold, Model 3 was also the best-selling premium vehicle (including SUVs) in the US for 2018 – the first time in decades an American carmaker has been able to secure the top spot.”
It added: “Last year was the most pivotal year in Tesla’s history.”
Gross margins improved during the year, from 18.9% to 24.3%.
Looking ahead, founder and chief executive Elon Musk and Deepak Ahuja, Chief Financial Officer at the time the results were compiled, said: “This year should be a truly exciting one for Tesla. Model 3 will become a global product, the profitability of our business should become sustainably positive…Our growth opportunities are massive.”