Apple warning of weak sales in China sends U.S. stocks sinking

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Apple says dropping demand for iPhones in China will cause its overall revenue to fall well below previous predictions.

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. The tech behemoth had projected total revenue for the quarter to come in around $91 billion but now is forecasting about $84 billion. The company had revenue of $62.90 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $61.55 billion.

"Apple stock is now at a crossroads", said a research note Thursday from Gene Munster and Will Thompson of the investment firm Loup Ventures.

Despite all that, Apple continues to face fierce competitive pressure from Android smartphone makers trying to move into the premium portion of that market - and I don't see that abating in 2019.

The development was the latest sign of increasing economic concerns among Chinese buyers.

To help boost iPhone sales, Cook said Apple will expand its financing plans and build upon its recent efforts to make it easier to trade in older models at its stores.

A key White House adviser said in response that the ongoing tensions were going to mean that a "heck of a lot" of United States firms with sales in China - not just Apple (Swiss: AAPL-EUR.SW - news) - would see their earnings downgraded until the two countries reach a deal.

Apple (NASDAQ:) stunned investors after the market Wednesday, lowering guidance for the quarter just completed.

Step back from the gyrations of the moment, and there's an emerging strategy for Apple: Sell fewer iPhones and assorted devices such as Macs and iWatches at a higher price than mass-market rivals, and then flood those millions of users-who have more than average disposable income because they were able to afford those devices in the first place-with apps and content that they will pay for. Counterpoint reported iPhone sales dropped by 17% year-over-year during the third quarter due to the weak initial performance of the new models.

The country is still one of the world's fastest growing economies.

Consumers are more likely to curb spending on big-ticket items during economic downturns, and there are worries over "consumption downgrade" in China. Cook suggested in his investor letter that what happened to Apple was a temporary blow from unforeseen economic weakness in China.

The Chinese government has condemned the arrest and demanded her release.

David Dollar is a China specialist at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

China's "economy began to slow there for the second half", Cook said during an interview with CNBC on Wednesday afternoon. "People are anxious about losing jobs", she said.

"The firm alleges that Cook's letter blaming business in China for the revenue shortfall is contrary to what he told investors during the company's fourth quarter conference call on November 1, where Cook is quoted as saying, "[Our] business in China was very strong last quarter.

Shares of Apple Inc. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei enjoys a 24.6 percent share.

Apple's new iPhone sales have been lower than expected, with CEO Tim Cook blaming the trade war between the U.S. and China. He also said the tussle over U.S.

Still, some local players managed to grow against the trend and they may be eating into Apple's market share.

We want to hear from you. Ashley Thompson was the editor.