October 19, 2011 / 1:12 PM / 7 years ago

Apple shares slide after rare earnings miss

(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares fell more than 5 percent on Wednesday, the first trading session after a rare quarterly earnings miss, but analysts said the drop presented a buying opportunity for investors.

On Tuesday, Apple stunned Wall Street with quarterly results that missed expectations for the first time in years as customers held off buying iPhones until the latest version came out in October.

One analyst called the results a “black swan” and said now was the time to buy shares, with Apple providing a stronger-than-expected outlook for the current quarter.

“We would be aggressive buyers of Apple this morning as we anticipate a big holiday season for the company,” said Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, who reiterated a “buy” rating on the stock.

White said he expected Apple’s iPhone 4S to be “another blockbuster iPhone product.”

JPMorgan said in a note to clients that the rare miss was explainable and could be an entry point for opportunistic investors. The firm added that shares of Apple were likely to come under pressure in the near term but that the company’s sales overseas would ultimately boost growth.

“Apple’s ongoing penetration of China and other emerging markets likely can be measured in years and stands to have a significant, positive impact on the growth profile,” JPMorgan said in a research note.

The quarterly earnings report on Tuesday was Apple’s first under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who took over from Steve Jobs in August at a critical juncture for the company. Apple is battling Google Inc (GOOG.O) in the mobile arena, as well as other challengers such as Samsung (005930.KS) and Amazon.com (AMZN.O).

Apple said it sold 17.07 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended on September 24 — well short of the roughly 20 million forecast by analysts. The iPhone is Apple’s flagship product, yielding some 40 percent of annual sales.

Apple shares were down 5.2 percent at $400.12 on Nasdaq.

Reporting by Fareha Khan and Liana B. Baker, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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