Apple Inc. (AAPL) Breaks Records, But the Stock Falls?

Apple Inc.Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is learning a pretty hard lesson – even if a company breaks its own records in sales of a new product, expectations mean a lot – and not meeting expectations doesn’t matter. It seems that analysts are treated as right and the company is wrong, and the stock suffers.

A new example is in the wake of the Monday market, which shows Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock finishing the day down more than 1 percent even though the company beat its own record for first-weekend device sales as it sold 5 million iPhone 5 devices in its first couple days of availability. While the number did beat the previous record of 4 million iPhone 4S devices sold last October, analysts on the Street expected the company to sell between 6 and 10 million.

What happened? Talk is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had some supply chain constraints where not enough devices were made available, while there were other reports that several retailers were sent limited supplies in the first place. CEO Tim Cook, however, tried to reassure customers that they will get an iPhone as soon as possible, though most Apple stores ran out of their supply of iPhones by Sunday evening, and there was no indication when the new supply would be available. Some research indicated that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had 1.25 days of inventory available at the launch, compared to about 2.5 days of inventory for the iPhone 4S launch last year.

While investors acted like they were disappointed by sending the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock lower, there was at least one analyst that considered the expectations were a bit overblown from what was realistic for a launch in only five countries. Twenty-two other countries were to receive iPhones this Friday. Those who continue with a long position – which would include hedge-fund manager David Tepper of Appaloosa Management LP – will likely see their returns over the coming weeks as the iPhone unfolds to the world.