Dow falls more than 200 points, dragged down by more Apple woes
Are Apple’s glory days behind it? That’s probably a stretch. But Wall Street clearly is getting more worried about the company’s reliance on the iPhone to generate sales and profit at a time when demand for the newer phones appears to be subpar.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) fell 3% Wednesday and that was one of the big reasons why the Dow, which includes Apple, lost more than 200 points. Apple’s stock even dipped into bear market territory, meaning it was down 20% from its all-time high.
It was the fourth straight drop for the Dow, which actually opened the day with a more than 100-point gain after the US government reported that the latest figures for consumer prices were in line with expectations — a sign that inflation remains mostly in check.
The Dow briefly bounced off its lows after UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her cabinet had agreed to a Brexit deal.
But the broader market was also hurt by a slide in bank stocks after Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters, who is expected to take over the House Financial Services Committee in January, said in a House hearing Wednesday that the days of more lax regulations for banks “will come to an end.”
Still, all eyes were mostly on Apple, which fell for a fifth consecutive day.
The reason for Apple’s latest slide? Several companies that produce chips and other components used in iPhones have all issued gloomy forecasts recently, citing sluggish demand for higher-end smartphones.
But it may not be time to throw in the towel on Apple just yet, even though some analysts are cutting their price targets and earnings estimates due to concerns about soft sales for the newer iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
Apple’s stock is still up more than 10% this year, making it one of the better performers in the Dow. The company is still worth nearly $900 billion. It remains the most valuable company in the world.
Apple also continues to pay a solid dividend that yields 1.5% — and the company is likely to keep raising its dividend thanks to its cash stockpile of $237.1 billion.
What’s more, Apple’s earnings are expected to increase by more than 13% this fiscal year and keep growing at about a 12% clip annually, on average, for the next few years.
So predictions of an Apple iPocalypse, if you will, may be premature. There are other legitimate worries for Apple though.
UBS analyst Tim Arcuri cut his price target on Apple Wednesday. He wrote in a report that the stronger dollar could be hurting iPhone sales in China since currency fluctuations make the already expensive iPhones even pricier in China.
And it does seem like the company needs a new product to get consumers and investors excited again.
Perhaps Apple needs to take a cue from the movie “This Is Spinal Tap” and release a new iPhone that goes to eleven. But would it be the iPhone 11 or iPhone XI?