by Stephen Nellis and Yuvraj Malik

(Reuters) – Apple on Thursday reported a sales forecast for the current quarter that fell short of Wall Street expectations, seeing its stock decline after the close despite better-than-expected third-quarter results as the holiday season ended. year is important for the group.

Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted on the success in China of the latest range of smartphones, the iPhone 15 models.

He cited a record third quarter for iPhones in the region, trying to allay concerns that Apple is losing ground in the Chinese market amid increased competition from Huawei and other local rivals.

In a conference call with analysts, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said sales in the fourth quarter, a traditional peak for new iPhone models, would be similar to last year. . Wall Street expected year-on-year growth of 4.97% to $122.98 billion.

Up 37% since the start of the year, the title of the Cupertino, California-based group was down 3.5% in post-closing stock trading following the announcement of forecasts for the October-December period.

Earlier, Apple reported third-quarter sales and profit that beat Wall Street estimates, thanks in part to a rebound in iPhone sales and revenue from services that offset falling sales. Mac computers and iPad tablets.

But Apple’s quarterly sales in China fell 2.5% and Tim Cook reported supply problems for the latest iPhone models.

If the Apple firm has navigated the global dip in the smartphone market better than many of its competitors, it still has to deal with a fragile economic rebound in China, one of its main markets.

Apple faces increased competition in the country, with the comeback of Huawei with devices equipped with Chinese chips. Its sales in China in the third quarter fell to 15.08 billion dollars, compared to 15.47 billion a year earlier.

Tim Cook said that taking into account exchange rates, Apple’s business in China had grown year-on-year, driven by iPhone sales and services.

“We set a quarterly record for the iPhone in mainland China,” he told Reuters, claiming four of the top five smartphones in sales in major Chinese cities.

Over the July-September period, Apple’s total sales fell by around 1% to 89.50 billion dollars, however beating the consensus which stood at 89.28 billion according to LSEG data.

Apple’s quarterly profit came in at $1.46 per share, while analysts on average expected $1.39 per share according to LSEG data.

Overall iPhone sales came in at $43.81 billion, in line with consensus according to LSEG data.

For Mac computers, sales plunged by a third to $7.61 billion, compared to analysts’ average forecast of $8.63 billion.

iPad tablet sales fell 10% to $6.44 billion, compared to a consensus of $6.07 billion.

(Reporting Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Yuvraj Malik in Bangalore; Jean Terzian)

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