earnings

With Apple’s Q3 earnings call starting at 2pm PT/5pm ET today (which we’ll be covering live, of course), Fortune has posted the results of its usual quarterly survey of analyst predictions.

The executive summary is that the analysts are pessimistic, though in line with Apple’s guidance.

Earnings [per share] estimates are down across the board — anywhere from -7% year over year  (according to independent Patrick Smellie from the Braeburn Group) to -29% (Susquehanna’s Chris Caso) … 

There is consensus that year-on-year revenues will be either flat or slightly down, but interestingly the consistency we saw in the predicted numbers for Q2 (which turned out to be under-estimates) have disappeared.

In general, the convergence we saw developing in Q2 has started to reverse. In April, the gap between the pros’ and the amateurs’ revenue estimates was just 1.3%. Now they seem to be drifting apart again. The revenue gap for Q3 has more than doubled, to 3.5%. On earnings, the two groups are, on average, 7.1% apart.

Here’s the full set of estimates (institutional analysts in blue, independents in green, Apple’s high and low guidance in red):

q3-2013-9-45-revise1

As always, it’s the institutional estimates that tend to drive the share price, so the key numbers the market is looking for in terms of sales are these:

iPhone: 26.57M

iPad: 17.62M

iPod: 4.98M

Mac: 3.86M

And translated into the financials:

Revenue: $34.94B

Gross margin: 36.6 percent

Earnings Per Share (EPS): $7.29

If Apple hits or beats these numbers, the stock price will likely rise; if performance falls short, the stock price likely falls.

If you want to listen in to the call, Apple is offering a streaming audio link.

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