Apple is set to report fiscal second-quarter results after the stock market closes on Thursday. The iPhone maker’s shares have slumped so far in 2024, falling about 12 percent amid declining sales in China and an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S.

Apple is expected to report earnings of $1.51 per share, down slightly from $1.52 per share in the year-ago quarter, according to FactSet. Revenue is also expected to fall to $90.4 billion, down from $94.8 billion in the prior year. 

Here’s what investors should watch for when the tech titan reports.

1. iPhone sales

Investors will be closely watching sales of iPhones during the quarter after third-party reports said sales in China were down significantly. One report in early March said iPhone sales were down 24 percent during the first six weeks of the year in China. Analysts expect iPhone revenue to decline about 10 percent during the March quarter compared to the previous year.

Sales of the iPhone accounted for more than half of total revenue for Apple during its most recent fiscal year, when it sold more than $200 billion in iPhones, according to the company’s annual filing with the SEC. New versions of the iPhone have been less revolutionary through the years than they were initially, causing many consumers to hold on to their older phones longer.

2. Apple’s AI push

Apple typically doesn’t talk about new products during earnings calls, but investors are eager to learn about how Apple will capitalize on the boom in AI. 

An update is more likely at the company’s developer conference in June, but analysts may press CEO Tim Cook for hints at how Apple will incorporate AI into future products or services such as an AI-integrated iPhone, which could be announced later this fall. 

(Check out Bankrate’s list of the best AI ETFs.)

3. Returns to shareholders

Investors will also look for an update on how Apple plans to use its massive cash pile. The company currently pays an annual dividend of $0.96 per share and repurchased more than $77 billion in stock during its latest fiscal year. 

CFRA analyst Angelo Zino expects Apple to raise its dividend by 3 percent and announce a new $90 billion share repurchase authorization. Zino has a buy rating on the shares with a 12-month price target of $210. 

(Here are the top-performing tech stocks so far in 2024.)

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