Apple sinks on fears of slowing iPhone sales

iPhone co-creator says phone's become too addictive
iPhone co-creator says phone's become too addictive

Apple's stock is as red as the newest version of the iPhone 8.

Shares of Apple fell more than 3% Friday, and they are now down nearly 5% this week. Apple's stock has given up its gains for the year.

Why has Apple suddenly turned sour? Growing fears that Apple (AAPL) will report sluggish iPhone sales when it releases its earnings on May 1.

Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty slashed her iPhone shipment projections for the quarter ending in June on Friday, citing weakness in China. Canaccord Genuity's Michael Walkley also cut his iPhone sales forecasts and cut his earnings estimates for Apple too.

It doesn't help that the chief financial officer of a key Apple chip supplier -- Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) -- warned of "mobile softness" and "continued weak demand" when it reported earnings this week.

That's a big reason why shares of other semiconductor companies that make processors used in iPhones were hurting as well.

Shares of Qorvo (QRVO), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS) plunged this week, as did the broader Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX).

It's possible that Apple's iPhone X, which does not have a home button, uses facial recognition and lacks a jack for headphones, may be a little too different for people used to iPhone upgrades being more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Most analysts cite weak iPhone X demand as the biggest problem for Apple.

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But the big question now for investors is whether Apple woes will be a drag on the broader market for the foreseeable future.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world, worth more than $840 billion. The drop in Apple's stock price Friday was one of the big reasons why the Dow, which Apple is a member of, fell more than 200 points. The broader S&P 500 and Nasdaq sank too.

Other big tech stocks also tumbled Friday. But interestingly enough, the other four of the so-called FAANG stocks are all still up for the week.

  • Facebook (FB), which will report its latest earnings on Wednesday, has gained about 1% on hopes that the Cambridge Analytica data scandal did not lead to a mass defection of users and advertisers.

  • Amazon (AMZN) has soared more than 7% after the company announced a deal to sell Fire TV sets at Best Buy (BBY) and said that it had more than 100 million Prime members. Amazon reports its earnings on Thursday.
  • Netflix (NFLX) surged 7% thanks to its latest earnings report. The company wowed Wall Street with better than expected subscriber growth in the US and internationally.
  • Google (GOOGL) owner Alphabet is up 3.5%. It reports earnings on Monday. Analysts expect continued strength in its core search advertising business. Google may also benefit from iPhone softness if more consumers are buying phones running on Google's Android operating system.

So it looks like investors believe that, for now at least, one bad Apple shouldn't spoil the rest of the Big Tech bunch.

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