Stocks Plummet After Apple Warning on Chinese Sales

(CN) – Apple stock dropped more than 9 percent Thursday morning, dragging U.S. indexes down with it after the tech giant said it will miss its quarterly sales forecast because of weakening growth and the U.S. trade dispute with China.

Customers visit an Apple store in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Apple Inc.’s $1,000 iPhone is a tough sell to Chinese consumers who are jittery over an economic slump and a trade war with Washington. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The biggest losses were among technology and machinery companies, including those that make chips and components used in smartphones and other gadgets.

The United States’ ongoing trade dispute with China is largely to blame as demand for American tech products has dropped there. Tariffs and trade sanctions could worsen the situation as the Chinese economy has shown signs of slowing down.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to shareholders Wednesday that demand for iPhones in China has declined, dinging the company’s revenue for the October-December quarter.

It expects $84 billion in revenue for the quarter, which is $7 billion less than what analysts predicted.

By 10 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 was down 1.3 percent and the Down Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.6 percent. The Nasdaq, which includes many tech stocks, dropped by 1.9 percent. 

Apple’s announcement comes after the worst year for U.S. stocks in a decade. 2018 saw the Dow fall 5.6 percent, the S&P 500 drop 6.2 percent and the Nasdaq sink 4 percent, marking the worst numbers since 2008 and only the second year in the last decade that the Dow and S&P both fell.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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