More Evidence Emerges of Soft iPhone Sales

Apple Inc. iPhone XR smartphones sit on display at a Soft Bank Group Corp. store in Tokyo Japan on Friday Nov. 2 2018.        , Bloomberg

A woman checks her phone at a flagship Apple store at Iconsiam shopping mall in Bankok, Thailand.

Major suppliers to Apple Inc.'s iPhone fell Monday, as investors fretted that one of the most important product lines in the technology sector was seeing weak demand.

The suppliers include Lumentum Holdings which supplies Apple with key hardware for Face ID along with Japan Display and IQE. In its most-recent quarter, Apple reported nearly no increase in the number of iPhones sold, but revenue from that business jumped 29 percent from a year earlier.

The world's largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, fell 2.6 percent and camera lens-maker Largan Precision Co Ltd slid 3.6 percent. Lumentum didn't identify the customer and a spokesman for the company declined to comment, but Apple is its biggest customer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple stock fell 5% to $194.17 on Monday.

As early as 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook was warning against taking supply chain rumors to heart. Lumentum, which supplies FaceID components for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, has reduced its profit and revenue forecasts thanks to reduced orders from Apple.

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JP Morgan analysts weighed in by cutting their price target for Apple by $4 to $270 pointing to poor orders for the new iPhone XR.

Apple warned earlier this month that holiday sales would miss Wall Street expectations due to weakness in emerging markets including India and foreign-exchange costs.

Among other Apple suppliers in the region, Hong Kong-based acoustic components maker AAC Technologies Holdings Inc fell more than 6 percent.

Shares in Lumentum fell almost 30 percent, dragging down shares of other suppliers and chipmakers. The company said earlier this month it would stop breaking out individual sales figures for the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

More recently, Apple launched a new version of its operating system, iOS 12, that supports an unprecedented 28 of the company's devices, including models that went on sale in 2013.

"(This) indicates that the company itself is not confident about its performance at the moment", said Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management, which owns Samsung Electronics shares. Not necessarily. To this point, Kuo articulates that lower demand for the iPhone XR may be offset - in a financial sense - by sales of Apple's pricier iPhone XS models.

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