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Apple Tumbles After Warning of Dull Holiday Quarter

Apple fell 3% on Friday after it disappointed Wall Street with a forecast that indicated growth will stay subdued in the quarter where the holiday season usually drives its strongest sales.

The world’s most valuable firm was set to lose more than $80 billion in market value, based on its premarket share price of $172. Its shares have rallied nearly 40% this year.

The iPhone maker on Thursday predicted quarterly sales that were below market estimates, blaming weak demand for iPads and wearables, especially in key market China.

The projection fanned fears about broader holiday demand, with estimates including those from the U.S. National Retail Federation and Deloitte predicting the slowest rise in sales in the crucial shopping period in years due to sticky inflation.

“Apple’s revenue growth has stalled over the past few quarters – and appears likely to continue to stagnate over the next year,” said brokerage Bernstein, noting the holiday quarter usually sets the tone for Apple’s fiscal year that runs until September.

At least 11 analysts cut their price targets on the stock, pushing down the median price target to $196.5, according to LSEG data. Apple currently trades at nearly 26 times its 12-month forward earnings estimates, among the lowest in the so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks.

“We view management’s flat sales guidance as proof the company cannot rely on iPhone sales to drive shares higher, as it has in the past,” D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte said.

The iPhone, Apple’s main revenue generator, saw its sales rise in the September quarter and is also forecast to post an increase in the last three months of 2023.

CEO Tim Cook also insisted the iPhone 15 models were doing well in China, as he sought to allay Wall Street fears that Apple was losing market share to a resurgent Huawei and other local smartphone sellers. “In mainland China, we set a quarterly record for the September quarter for iPhone,” Cook told Reuters.

Several analysts cheered the remarks. “The Street will breathe a sigh of relief on this front,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said.

He was also positive on the outlook for the services business, whose strong growth in the September quarter had helped the company top quarterly revenue expectations.

Source : Zawya