Apple suppliers tumble on as weak iPhone demand persists

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Apple - for the first time ever - refused to release sales numbers for the XR, XS, and XS Max during its recent earnings call, but other industry sources point to the new iPhones (and the XR in particular) not meeting sales expectations.

Now Lumentum Holdings, the main supplier of the Face ID technology in the latest generation of iPhones, cut $70 million off its forecasts for revenue on Monday, knocking another five percent, or around $50 billion off Apple's value in morning trade on Wall Street. Semiconductor stocks were broadly lower with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index losing 4.4 percent.

While Apple bulls have cheered the firm's swift transition towards its higher-margin, recurring revenue software and services businesses, such as Apple Music and the App Store, the company still generates almost 60% of its top line from its iPhone segment.

Apple has lost $120 billion in market capitalisation since the last trading day of September, and many analysts are warning that the brief days of Apple being a trillion dollar company are over. As smartphones are seeing less impactful upgrades every year, fatigue may be setting in among consumers, particularly Apple's.

"For Apple, the iPhone shipment has reached its peak".

Lumentum on Monday slashed its profit and revenue forecast for the current quarter, while IQE warned that current-year results would be lower.

Apple shares fell as much as 5.2 overnight after Lumentum cut its outlook, citing a reduced shipment request from Apple.

South Korean electronic parts suppliers Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co Ltd, Apple's supplier of multi-layer ceramic capacitors, dropped more than 5 percent, while LG Innotek Co Ltd plunged 9.5 percent.

In the fourth quarter, Apple sold 46.9 million iPhones, missing analyst expectations of 47.5 million iPhones, according to FactSet.

"Longer-lasting products could lead to higher customer satisfaction, potentially enable Apple to charge higher prices for its devices, and would help fulfill the company's environmental objectives", Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., wrote Monday in a note to investors.

"'(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.

"To account for this new information, we are reducing our iPhone XR/XS Max/XS units estimate, while increasing estimates of lower priced iPhone units", the Goldman analysts wrote in a note distributed on Tuesday.

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