Apple warning shakes European shares as tech stocks tumble

LONDON (Reuters) – Apple’s first sales warning in nearly 12 years sent European shares sliding on Thursday, with the tech sector particularly badly bruised as chipmakers that supply the iPhone maker fell sharply.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.9 percent as weak U.S. manufacturing data added to nerves over slowing global growth.

Apple’s Frankfurt-listed shares (AAPL.F) fell 9.4 percent after the tech giant cut its sales forecast, blaming weaker iPhone sales in China, whose economy has been hit by a trade war with the U.S..

“What the market is wrestling with is whether it is indicative of a wider malaise in perhaps both the world economy and China,” said Peter Rutter, head of global equities at Royal London Asset Management.

Europe’s tech sector .SX8P sank, falling 4.2 percent, only a few points short of its worst daily performance since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

Chipmakers that supply parts to Apple were the worst hit. Shares in AMS (AMS.S), which provides facial recognition sensors used in the latest iPhones, fell 23.1 percent to the bottom of the STOXX.

Other big losers included STMicroelectronics (STM.MI), down 11.6 percent, Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE), off 9.7 percent and Logitech (LOGN.S), which was down 5.8 percent.

Luxury goods shares, which are also highly sensitive to signs of slowing demand in China, joined the selloff.

LVMH (LVMH.PA), Gucci owner Kering (PRTP.PA) and Burberry (BRBY.L) were down between 3.8 percent and 5.9 percent.

Elsewhere, staffers Adecco (ADEN.S) and Randstad (RAND.AS) fell 5.2 percent and 6.8 percent respectively after a rating downgrade by Credit Suisse.

Among rare gainers, Next (NXT.L) shares rose 4.1 percent after the clothing retailer reported a rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas in line with its expectations.

For a graphic on Apple’s results click:

For a graphic on European companies with the highest China exposure click:

Reporting by Helen Reid, Josephine Mason and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg, John Stonestreet and Kirsten Donovan

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