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Apple’s sales forecast spooks stocks in Asia & Europe

Apple’s sales forecast spooks stocks in Asia & Europe
European and Asian stocks mostly tumbled after US giant Apple worsened its revenues forecast, triggering more investors’ concerns on slowing global growth. US stocks indexes are also expected to have a tough trading day.

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed on Wednesday that the company expects up to a $9 billion drop in the first quarter of 2019, blaming the economic slowdown in mainland China for weakening sales. The news almost immediately affected the markets in Europe and Asia, which closed with losses on Thursday, while Apple shares were also hit.

Chinese stocks were lower with the Shanghai Composite index falling nearly 1 percent to finish its trading day at 2,464.36, while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng was down 0.3 percent. Technology shares in South Korea were also hit with Kospi SEU losing some 0.81 percent.

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The Stoxx Europe 600, representing companies across 17 countries of the European region, slid 0.76 percent led by the technology sector. Separate stocks in the EU were also trading lower, with British FTSE 100 losing 0.53 percent, while German DAX and French CAC both dropped more than 1.1 percent.

Apple’s negative forecast is expected to end a rally on Wall Street, where gains were seen after the worst-ever selloff before the holidays. US futures pointed to a negative open on Thursday. Dow Jones Industrial Average is reportedly expected to sink more than 300 points, while S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq futures pointed to declines.

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The US tech giant finger pointing at Beijing added further worries about the now-paused US-China trade war. An American delegation is expected to visit China on January 7 for trade talks.

“That Tim Cook and his company mentioned China as the reason behind the downturn in the company’s outlook seemed to hit exactly the pressure point traders and investors were already alarmed over,” Greg McKenna, markets strategist at McKenna Macro wrote as cited by Bloomberg. “That is, the China and global slowdown which seems to have been confirmed by Wednesday’s global manufacturing PMI data.”

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