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Apple Earnings: Boooooring!

Apple (AAPL) reports its Q3 earnings today, and you can expect a whole lot of media coverage.

Just don’t expect a whole lot of anything new from Apple earnings when it comes to margins, sales or … well, anything.

So far in 2013, Apple stock has lost about 20% and AAPL is off about 40% from its high over $700 a share last September.

Wall Street analysts expect Apple’s revenue to be flat, its profits to drop and its margins to be weak when we see Q3 Apple earnings after the bell on Tuesday, July 23.

This is par for the course now, what with poor Q1 Apple earnings and Q2 numbers that showed its first profit decline in over a decade. The outlook also seems to be in line with the rest of tech, after Microsoft (MSFT) missed earnings big and Google (GOOG) ran into some trouble of its own last week.

There’s buzz about low-cost iPhones from Apple or an iPhone 5S or even an iPhone 6 launch. But Apple earnings are rarely the occasion for that kind of news.

Furthermore, Apple just announced a big $100 billion plan to return capital to shareholders via dividends and buybacks across the next few years, so it’s not like there’ll be a big dividend announcement either on the Apple earnings call.

So where does that leave us?

Well, right back where we were ahead of Apple earnings: More of the same for this tech giant — with analysts still very divided on the long-term outlook of this tech stock.

It used to be that Apple earnings were cause for celebration; a time when the company would blow the doors off rosy expectations and spark a big run for AAPL stock.

No more. Nowadays it seems that we are simply locked into the upgrade cycle, watching the blogosphere for rumors about a new Apple iPhone or iPad and horse-racing device sales from BlackBerry (BBRY), Samsung (SSNLF) and others.

So don’t expect too much from Apple earnings this time around. The real catalyst for a move will come from another product launch.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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