Apple bombshell rocks European, Asian shares

SHANGHAI/LONDON: Apple’s rare warning on revenue rocked financial markets on Thursday, reigniting concerns about slowing global economic and corporate growth and potential damage from Washington’s protracted trade row with Beijing.
Asian and European shares fell sharply, led by a sell-off in technology stocks, and US stock futures pointed to a weaker open on Wall Street, after Apple cut its revenue forecast, its first downgrade in nearly 12 years, blaming weaker iPhone sales in China. The news also jolted currency markets.
Apples shares tumbled in after-hours trade and those listed in Frankfurt were down 8.6 per cent in early European deals.
The news sparked a ‘flash crash’ in holiday-thinned currency markets as growing concerns about the health of the global economy, particularly China, sent investors scurrying into the safe-haven of the Japanese currency. The yen was poised for its biggest daily rise in 20 months.
Apple’s alert followed data earlier this week that showed a deceleration in factory activity in China and the euro zone, indicating the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China was taking a toll on global manufacturing.
Major European bourses opened firmly in negative territory — Frankfurt’s DAX, with its exposure to Chinese trade and tech-heavy constituents, was the biggest faller down as much as 0.8 per cent, while Paris’ CAC40 dropped 0.7 and London eased 0.2 per cent.
Chipmakers who supply parts to Apple were the worst hit. Shares in AMS which provides the facial recognition sensors used in the latest iPhones, fell 19.4 per cent to the bottom of the STOXX . US stock futures pointed to another rough start on Wall Street, with Nasdaq E-mini futures NQc1 down 2.5 per cent and S&P 500 E-mini futures ESc1 off 1.6 per cent.
MSCI’s broadest gauge of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 per cent after an attempt in Asian hours at a bounce. Japanese markets were closed for holidays but Nikkei futures NKc1 dropped 1.8 per cent.
Shares in China and Hong Kong see-sawed between gains and losses as investors waited for Beijing to roll out fresh support measures for the cooling Chinese economy.
“Chinese authorities have got the luxury of having control not just of the fiscal parts of the government tool case, but also the monetary parts … and I suspect the Chinese authorities will use that,” said Jim McCafferty, head of equity research, Asia ex-Japan, at Nomura.
Apple’s surprise announcement weighed on tech shares across Asia, most notably in Taiwan and South Korea. An MSCI index of Korean shares lost 1.8 per cent and Taiwan shares fell 1.4 per cent. — Reuters