Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Apple Stock Price Plunges After Earnings Warning

An Apple store in China Modal Trigger Shutterstock
Russell Knight | 06 January, 2019, 15:44

AMS, a European chipmaker that supplies Apple, saw its shares drop almost 20% after Apple warned of slowing iPhone sales.

Apple shares slid some 7.6 per cent in after-hours trade on the news. Cook also that Chinese consumers may have elected not to buy iPhones because Apple is an American company, instead opting to support the firm's Chinese competitors.

Apple's announcement late Wednesday struck a raw nerve with investors, who have been dumping technology and other stocks in recent months out of fears of a slowdown in the global economy, particularly China. The company presently has an average rating of "Hold" and a consensus target price of $195.64.

Apple on Wednesday lowered its forecast to $84 billion in revenue for its fiscal first quarter ended December 29, below analysts' estimate of $91.5 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a letter to shareholders, published after the close of trading on Wednesday, that it "did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration" in China.

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The decision of the court in Munich on 20 December found that Apple had violated patents on energy-saving technologies. Previously, it was noted that Apple's iPhone 7 and 8 models would not be sold in 15 retail locations in Germany.

Apple's shares fell by 10%, taking its value - which past year saw it become the first listed company to be worth more than $1tn - below $700bn. In the broader market, the S&P 500 futures fell 1.5 percent. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 10,012 shares of the iPhone maker's stock worth $1,854,000 after buying an additional 2,510 shares during the last quarter. The company also sees the traffic to retail stores and partner sellers in China declining in the quarter.

He said many companies have a lot of sales in China and will "be watching their earnings downgraded next year until we get a deal with China". Indeed, Nikkei Asian Review recently reported that many China-based companies are actively providing incentives to employees to buy devices from Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, following the arrest of Huawei's CFO in Canada at the behest of the United States - something that's surely going to add fuel to the proverbial fire. On average, analysts predict that Apple will post 13.18 EPS for the current year. In interviews over the years, Cook sought to accentuate the positive about business in China, notably by saying one or more iPhones were the most popular smartphones in China.

It's too early to say whether the trade-in program will help Apple attract new users. The company's revenue was up 19.6% on a year-over-year basis. In late December, the promotional program for the new models went live in China, adding one major perk: users in China cannot only trade in their old iPhones, but also Android phones made by Apple's major competitors in China, including Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi.

China's third-quarter economic growth of 6.5 per cent was stronger than most other major economies, but the country's lowest since the 2008 global crisis. As the iPhone upgrade market softened, it was having a big impact on revenue, at least in the short term, and Apple stock took a big hit as a result.

Though Cook did not acknowledge the eye-watering prices of Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max - which start at $999 and top out at $1,449 - as a contributing factor to Apple's woes, he did point a finger at "US dollar strength-related price increases".

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