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Pre-Market: Apple Profit Falls for the First Time in Over 10 Years; Fed to Begin Policy Meeting


North American iPhone sales actually fell.

Stock futures were higher this morning, but after the first annual profit decline in over a decade for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), technology stocks were in the red.

Ahead of the opening bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) were up 0.38% at 15,847. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.35% to 1,782.00. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC), which is heavily influenced by Apple, it's largest component, declined by 0.35% to 3,490.75.

Apple shares were down 7.22% following yesterday's earnings report. The Cupertino, California-based company reported that it sold 51 million iPhones in the December 2013 quarter, a 7% rise from a year earlier, despite a 34% year-over-year rise in the overall global smartphone market. This missed analyst expectations by 4 million. Furthermore, iPhone sales in North America actually fell on a yearly basis. Apple's net income was roughly flat at $13.1 billion, while earnings per share rose 5% to $14.50 as the result of a share buyback program. Revenue rose 5.7% to $57.6 billion.

This report suggests that Apple's strategy of maximizing margins and aiming squarely at the high-end market could be limiting. In the earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple's objective is not to sell the most, but rather the best. For the current quarter, the company projects revenue of $42 to $44 billion. Analysts had previously forecast $46.2 billion in sales.

Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) shares rose 2.4% in pre-market trading after the company's earnings report. The automaker beat sales expectations as revenue rose 2.6% year-over-year to $37.6 billion. Earnings per share of $0.31 beat the Street by $0.04. Overall it earned a pre-tax profit of $8.6 billion, one of Ford's best years ever.

Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) shares rose 2% this morning after the company released earnings. Profit, ignoring one-time charges, rose 22% year-over-year to $0.56 per share, beating estimates by $0.04. The pharmaceutical company's revenue fell 2% to $13.56 billion, however.

As the Federal Reserve begins its two-day policy meeting, where it is likely to further reduce the level of its monthly asset purchases, there are a few releases on the economic calendar. Durable goods orders unexpectedly fell 4.3% in December 2013 after rising 3.5% in November. Economists had expected a 1.6% rise in orders.

We will also get more information on the housing market later this morning. The Case-Shiller home price index is expected to show a 0.8% month-over-month rise in October 2013. Home prices in the 20 cities that it tracks are likely to have risen 13.7% on an annual basis.

Finally, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index is expected to rise this to 79 from 78.1 this month.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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