Wall Street sags as demand concerns hit Apple

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 14, 2013. — Reuters picTraders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 14, 2013. — Reuters picNEW YORK, Jan 14 — Wall Street fell today as shares of Apple were hit by demand concerns, while investors faced a busy week for earnings in what is expected to be a lacklustre quarter.

Apple slid more than 3 per cent after a report that the tech company has cut orders for LCD screens and other parts for the iPhone 5 this quarter due to weak demand. The stock was down 3.5 per cent at US$502.30 (RM1,507). It was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes.

“They’ve had great growth, but the growth is going to slow because we have some formidable competitors we didn’t have when the iPhone first came out,” said Alan Lancz, president at Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio

Apple suppliers Cirrus Logic tumbled 4.8 per cent to US$30.04 and Qualcomm lost 1.4 per cent to US$64. The S&P tech sector gave up 0.9 per cent.

Earnings season picks up the pace this week with reports expected from companies including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Intel and General Electric.

Overall earnings are expected to grow by just 1.9 per cent in this reporting period, according to Thomson Reuters data. Thirty-eight S&P 500 companies are due to report results this week.

“Expectations have been lowered from where they were a few weeks ago. Whether they’re low enough is going to be the key question,” said Lancz.

Analysts say the focus will be on what kind of guidance companies offer now that a deal has been reached on the “fiscal cliff.”

Investors will be watching a news conference from US President Barack Obama, scheduled for 1615 GMT. Obama is expected to focus on looming budget and borrowing due dates, White House officials said.

Separately, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking on monetary policy, recovery from the global financial crisis and long-term challenges facing the American economy at 2100 GMT.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 23.01 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 13,465.42. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 4.80 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 1,467.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 15.57 points, or 0.50 per cent, at 3,110.06.

Appliance and electronics retailer Hhgregg Inc cut its same-store sales forecast for the full year, sending its shares down 11 per cent at US$7.02.

Transocean Ltd has disclosed that billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has acquired a 1.56 per cent stake in the offshore rig contractor and is looking to increase that holding. Its shares rose 3.4 per cent to US$55.92.

The Dow fared better than the other two indexes as Hewlett-Packard rose 1.6 per cent to US$16.42 after JPMorgan raised its price target to US$21 from US$15. — Reuters



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