Cash-flush Apple posts disappointing earnings

Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 second quarter ended April 1, 2017. The tech behemoth posted quarterly revenues of $52,9 billion, falling below market expectations, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2,10. These results compare to revenues of $50,6 billion and earnings per diluted share of $1,90 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue. iPhone shipments disappointed, with Apple stocks falling by as much as two percent in active after-hours trading.

CEO Tim Cook was, however, confident that the quarterly results boded well for the rest of the year.

"We are proud to report a strong March quarter, with revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued robust demand for iPhone 7 Plus," said Cook. "We've seen great customer response to both models of the new iPhone 7 RED Special Edition and we're thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for a 13-week quarter. Looking ahead, we are excited to welcome attendees from around the world to our annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Jose."

"We generated strong operating cash flow of $12,5 billion and returned over $10 billion to our investors in the March quarter," said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO (pictured). "Given the strength of our business and our confidence in our future, we are happy to announce another $50 billion increase to our capital return program today."

Luca joined Apple in 2013 as vice president of Finance and corporate controller, and has worked closely with Apple's senior leadership since his arrival. He has over 25 years of experience building and leading finance teams in global companies with significant operating scale and complexity, including Xerox and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Apple had $256.8 billion in its cash stockpile at the end of its most recent quarter, up from $233 billion at the same time last year. Maestri said on Tuesday that $239 billion of its cash was held abroad, for tax purposes. Apple's astonishing cash hoard, which is driven by its profitable iPhone, is worth only slightly less than all of General Electric and makes it by far the richest company in the USA.

The Cupertino-based firm, however, has been criticized by some stakeholders for its reluctance to spend its warchest. It is hoped that Apple might soon be able to bring back this cash to the USA at a one-time lower tax rate if President Donald Trump is able to have his business-friendly tax plan approved by Congress.