A slowing economy is showing up in corporate earnings reports this week. DuPont (dd) was particularly hard hit, reporting a sales decline of nearly 10% from a year ago, evident in all six of its business units and across all regions. Procter & Gamble (pg) also reported sales down 9% from a year ago, although it managed to boost earnings.
Even mighty Apple (aapl) is suffering. Despite the company’s $18.4 billion profit – one of the most profitable quarters for any company ever – the company reported iPhone revenue that was up less than 1 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The company projected sales in the current quarter could be down from a year earlier. That suggests the meteoric rise of iPhone sales may be over. FORTUNE’s Philip Elmer DeWitt captures the company’s slowdown in four compelling charts.
Apple blamed its difficulties on a slowing Chinese economy. Meanwhile, the Chinese are blaming George Soros for their troubles. The 85-year-old investor, who has retired from the day to day operations of his family hedge fund, made some bearish comments on the Chinese economy in Davos last week, prompting a variety of “official” Chinese sources to attack him for declaring war on the Chinese economy.
As a side note, Apple said on its earnings call that it will be taking on new debt in order to fund shareholder buybacks and dividends. That’s a strange announcement from a company that is supposedly sitting on $216 billion dollars in cash – an amount equal to the Gross Domestic Product of Algeria. Trouble is, that money is in securities sitting overseas, and Apple can’t bring it home without huge tax consequences.
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