The investment community has been on the edge since Apple (AAPL) dropped the bomb yesterday by saying its co-founder and chief executive was taking another medical leave, the third in the decade of his return to Apple's helm. Since Jobs' letter to Apple employees failed to mention any time frame for the leave, some investors hit the ejection handle as the shares lost six percent of their value in Frankfurt trading yesterday.
The US market was closed yesterday as the country observed Martin Luther King Day so Wall Street had ample time to digest the news. Early this morning AAPL fell 4.4 percent on Nasdaq where AAPL is currently trading at $333.18 a share, down from $348.48 last Friday, an all-time-high for the Californian consumer electronics powerhouse and the most-valued technology company in the world. Going for $333.18 a share, Apple's current market cap equals to $304.69 billion.
But with Apple set to announce record-breaking December quarter today at 5pm PST (8pm EST), is the time right to buy AAPL now? Apple's shares have been up 66 percent over the past twelve months. Any eagle-eyed investor certainly knew Wall Street would punish AAPL on the news of Jobs' medical leave.
But conventional wisdom tells us that Apple probably sold an awful lot of iPhones, iPads and Macs during the holiday quarter. Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan expects Apple to report sales of seven million iPads and 4.3 million Macs. Appleinsider quoted the analyst who wrote in a note to clients:
Our recent research indicates, however, that the actual iPhone numbers could track closer to 16.0 to 16.1 million units and iPad shipments could be 6.9 to 7.0 million units. We do not expect much of a delta to our current Mac unit estimate. We believe that the potential iPhone and iPad outperformance could add 'at least' $0.25 of EPS upside potential.
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