5 takeaways from Apple's stark China warning


Cook said there were some bright spots for Apple in some parts of the world and that the company expects "all-time revenue records in several developed countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and [South] Korea".

Apple Inc AAPL.O shares plunged 10 percent on Thursday after the iPhone maker blamed weak China demand for a holiday-quarter revenue shortfall, with many investors anxious the rare stumble was a harbinger for slowing global growth.

In a letter to investors, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed to a slowing economy, particularly in China.

Cook blamed a number of issues, including lackluster iPhone sales, but also pointed to Trump's trade war with China.

Wednesday's cut to the sales forecast marked the first time Apple has revised its guidance to investors in more than 15 years, prompting the share price plunge. Secondly, Tim Cook thinks the weakening USA dollar is to blame for Apple's lowered profits, as well as the company's flagship device, the iPhone, experiences its worst sales run in recent memory due to competition from overseas.

In his letter, Cook blamed the earlier launch timing of the iPhone XS and XS Max compared to the iPhone X, the strength of the U.S. dollar, supply constraints due to the number of new products Apple released in the fall, and overall economic weakness in some markets. Adidas saw 26 percent growth in China while Western Europe, its home market, was staying flat or shrinking.

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Investors also were encouraged by news that the USA and China will hold trade talks in Beijing on January 7 and 8.

Additional major American brands - including Ford Motor Company and Tiffany - have also recently suffered sharp sales drops in China. Past year was truly a roller coaster for the stock.

With Apple's slumping stock taking a lot of the market down with it, the White House seemingly felt compelled to chime in on the matter.

Cook in November had cited slowing growth in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and Russian Federation when Apple gave first-quarter sales estimates that were lower than expected.

China's economy grew at its weakest pace since the financial crisis last quarter as its trade war with the U.S. added uncertainty to an already rocky environment.

Apple shares traded as low as 142.81 dollars apiece, or almost 10 percent lower on Thursday, registering a 52-week low. "The question is to what extent this is more Apple-specific".

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Apple, indeed, has been hammered by China's lackluster growth and economic uncertainty posed by president Trump's tariff war.

"When the United States went after the Huawei founder's daughter, the Chinese government made Apple the target of the day, so sales should be way off", independent technology analyst Rob Enderle said.

Trader Mark Muller works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.

"For a while now, there's been an adage in the markets that as long as Apple was doing fine, everyone else would be OK", said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at Markets.com.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The lack of a breakthrough product surely contributed to Apple's not-so-hot outlook. Services generated $10.8 billion in revenue for the quarter - a 27 percent increase from a year earlier. These analysts said in a research note that services represent a huge business opportunity for Apple.

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