Apple stock plunged Friday after a string of negative analyst reports, dropping just over 4% to 165.72 at the close. Even more remarkably for a company that has an aura of inevitable triumph, Apple stock is now down over 2% since ending 2017 at 169.23.
The apparent focus of investor anxiety is the sales performance of the iPhone X, a super-premium handset rolled out last fall. One analyst declared that “the iPhone X is dead” and that it would likely be discontinued in 2018. Both Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have said overall iPhone sales are stalling.
Those claims were based on supplier reports, as Apple rarely reports sales details. A separate report affirmed Apple’s dominance of the smartphone market, and according to CNBC, most analysts still consider the stock a good investment.
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Trouble for Apple is the last thing that tech stocks need right now. Facebook’s stock has yet to recover from the catastrophic revelations surrounding Cambridge Analytica, which have sparked fierce debate and legislative hearings over the harvesting of user data by digital media companies. That has brought down a wide swathe of stocks, including Google’s, which has now just barely returned to its January 2nd value.
Apple, though often grouped with other tech giants, derives most of its revenue from hardware sales, and CEO Tim Cook has made strong statements critical of data-based business models. But even if it is for unrelated reasons, Apple joining the club of beleagured tech stocks reinforces a worrying narrative as 2018 gets off to an unexpectedly middling economic start.