Will Apple’s (AAPL) warning spook stocks tomorrow, Thursday, January 3, to a degree that bad economic news out of China didn’t today?
After the close in New York Apple CEO Tim Cook dramatically lowered the company’s estimates for sales in the December quarter. Apple is now expecting sales of $84 billion in the quarter. That’s down from earlier estimates of $89 billion to $93 billion.
That represents a decline from sales of $88.3 billion in the December quarter a year earlier. This would be the first holiday quarter slowdown in sales since Cook took over as CEO in 2011.
Cook made it clear where the problem lies: China. “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” Cook said in a letter to investors. Greater China and other emerging markets accounted for the vast majority of year-over-year iPhone revenue decline, he said, but added that iPhone upgrades also weren’t as strong as the company anticipated in some developed markets.
On Wednesday the U.S. indexes shrugged off data showing that the manufacturing sector in China had contracted in December. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished higher for the day, if just barely, with a 0.13% gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.08%.
Apple’s warning confirms the negative data out of China and is likely to reinforce doubts about growth in the technology sector and for the global economy as a whole. The warning is also likely to increase worry about fourth quarter earnings reports due to begin in about 10 days.
In after-hours trading on Wednesday, shares of Apple fell 7.55%.
In that after-hours session shares of Amazon (AMZN) dropped 2.80%. Netflix (NFLX) was lower by 2.49%. Microsoft (MSFT) was down 2.10%.
Shares of Apple suppliers fell more heavily. Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) lost 5.2% in after-hours trading. Broadcom (AVGO) dropped 4.71%