Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock on Wednesday took another beating amid concerns of slowing demand for its latest smartphones — the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus. It closed at $100.70, a fraction above the psychologically important $100 mark, down about 2 percent for the day after falling Tuesday as well.
That’s a huge reversal from less than a year ago, in February 2015, when Apple’s market cap soared to a peak of nearly $775 billion, making it the first U.S. company to surpass the $700 billion mark. But since then, over $200 billion in market cap value has been wiped out, despite the launch of several new products such as the Apple Watch, new iPhones, a revamped Apple TV and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet.
Apple hasn’t officially released any numbers on its smartwatch. But KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted sales at around 4 million units during the holiday quarter, according to MacRumors.
Apple’s stock price on Wednesday brings it dangerously close to the sub-$100 mark, where it hasn’t closed since October 2014.
Part of the reason is growing concern by analysts and investors about Apple’s cash cow, the iPhone. The smartphone line accounted for $155 billion, or nearly two-thirds of Cupertino's revenue in 2015. But tepid demand for its iPhone 6S has investors worried that it will see its handset sales decline for the first time year-over-year.
Propping up those fears are several reports of cutbacks within Apple’s supply chain. China-based assembly provider Foxconn is expected to reduce staff during the Lunar New Year, in February. Several of Apple’s vendors are also expected to slow production by up to 30 percent during the January–March quarter, to help clear out excess inventory with its distribution partners, according to Nikkei.
Also weighing on Apple's stock price is growing concern about China’s slowing handset market. Despite explosive growth in previous years, the Chinese smartphone market is expected to slow shipment growth to a miniscule 1.2 percent for 2015, down from 19.7 percent in 2014, according to IDC. Overall, the global smartphone market is expected to come in at its first year of single-digit growth at 9.8 percent for a total of 1.43 billion units.
Apple is expected to post the results of its holiday quarter earnings on Jan. 26, after markets close, followed by a conference call at 5 p.m. EST to discuss the results.