Apple plunges after slashing revenue guidance for its holiday quarter (AAPL)

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US stocks fell sharply on Thursday after yesterday's surprise revenue forecast downgrade from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple has long fought efforts that would make iPhones easier to repair: It has lobbied against right to repair efforts in several states, doesn't sell iPhone replacement parts, sued an independent repair professional in Norway, worked with Amazon to get iPhone and MacBook refurbishers kicked off Amazon Marketplace, and has deals with electronics recyclers that require them to shred iPhones and MacBooks (as opposed to allowing them to be refurbished.) The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has seized iPhone replacement parts from prominent right to repair activists in the United States. Nevertheless, the relatively poor earnings performance has depressed Apple's share price by about 8% recently, and may have had a knock-on effect on other tech stocks. Apple's stock dropped by almost 10 percent once trading resumed.

In an open letter to investors published last night, Apple cut its revenue forecast for the busy Christmas quarter by 7.8 percent.

Apple now expects to achieve sales turnover of approximately $84 billion in the final quarter of 2018 (Q4), compared with the company's earlier revenue forecasts of between $89 billion and $93 billion. Some analysts think iPhone demand has slowed, especially for the iPhone XR and iPhone XS.

"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China", Cook expressed in a written statement.

Dan Ives of Wedbush said in an analyst note that Apple's news of its revised guidance on slowing iPhone sales "was clearly Apple's darkest day in our opinion and represents a challenging growth period ahead for the company (and its investors)".

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The news from Apple has already sent the value of the company plummeting by more than $55 billion, and as trading continues today, it is possible that it will drop further.

One of the problems for Apple's services business, the Macquarie Research analysts noted, is that some of its biggest drivers of sales like Apple Care support and app store revenue are likely to shrink while faster growing services like iCloud and Apple Music "are not big enough to offset the slowdown". In November, the company said it would stop reporting unit sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs beginning in fiscal 2019.

"I think there are a heck of a lot of US companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be watching their earnings be downgraded next year". Apple shares are down 9.27% in midday trading on Wednesday at $143.28.

Apple's latest comments fuelled worries that its relatively high-priced devices may be falling out of favour in China, where rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] offer cheaper options.

Peter Richardson, a research director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, said it was hard to see a catalyst that will help Apple recover lost ground in China.

"This is not a catastrophe nor is it a sign that Apple is losing its grip on the smartphone market but merely a misjudgment by Apple with regard to how much money people will pay for an iPhone".

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