Not only did Apple exit 2018 at a market cap well south of $1 trillion, but it didn't even leave the year as the world's most valuable publicly traded company. But he said then that he "would not put China in that category" of countries with troubled growth. The company is now valued at around $680 billion.
In a carefully crafted letter, CEO Tim Cook said economic turmoil in China wreaked havoc on the company's top line. (AAPL) are down more than 9% in NY trading after the company announced it will miss its revenue forecast for the critical holiday quarter. I have talked to a few people, both at Apple service centers and at third-party authorized fix centers, who report that there had been a significant uptick in iPhones coming in for battery replacement over the final few months of the program, so maybe this did indeed have a bigger than anticipated effect on holiday sales. Stocks went into a steep slide Thursday after Apple sent a shudder through Wall Street with word that iPhone sales in China are falling.
Apple says dropping demand for iPhones in China will cause its overall revenue to fall well below previous predictions.
In a note titled "Apple's Miss: Bridging the Gap Between Perception and Reality", long-time Apple analyst Gene Munster from Loup Ventures said while the revenue miss was largely expected, the magnitude of the miss was disappointing. On Thursday it was also announced that Apple is likely to remove some iPhones from stores in Germany, as Qualcomm moves to enforce an earlier court order banning the sale of some iPhone models in the country. "Overall, consumption growth is slowing down in China".
After multinational companies relied heavily on China for years for growth, warning signs across different industries are beginning to crop up suggesting there are broad, ominous trends gathering force in the world's second largest economy.
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In Asia, some traders cheered a private survey showing that China's services sector expanded in December.
Cook attributed much of the "shortfall" in the outlook to struggles in China that he pinned on the economy and "rising trade tensions" with the U.S. "We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the U.S.", he wrote. He said China's smartphone market is feeling a particularly tight squeeze.
"This year has the potential to be a tough year for western brands", said Benjamin Cavender, a Shanghai-based analyst at consultant China Market Research Group. Apple shares were down 8.8 percent at $143.97. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of manufacturing fell to its lowest level in two years, and new orders have fallen sharply since November.
A weak report Thursday on US manufacturing also weighed on the market. Germany's DAX dropped 1.5 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 1.7 percent, and Britain's FTSE 100 gave up 0.6 percent. Stocks in Asia closed with small losses.