A strong rally in Apple shares on May 2nd capped a week-long rebound in US technology stocks that has Wall Street rethinking whether it underestimated the industry’s resilience after a sharp sell-off of the sector’s biggest names just a month ago.
Shares in Austria’s AMS, which makes sensors used in Apple products and had warned of weaker orders from a “large smartphone programme” last month, enjoyed a sharp recovery, climbing more than 8 per cent. Dialog Semiconductor, which makes power management systems for the iPhone, climbed 8 per cent in Frankfurt.
In the US, Cirrus Logic, which makes audio processing chips and counts Apple among its largest customers, was up 2.4 per cent.
Apple’s rebound took shares back to near the $183.5 all-time high touched in mid-March, before rising trade tension rattled global markets and hurt high-flying technology stocks that have led equities higher in recent years.
everal Wall Street analysts admitted they had made the wrong call by predicting an iPhone slowdown, following negative commentary about the smartphone market from component suppliers such as TSMC and Samsung last month, while investors in both Apple and several suppliers in Europe breathed a sigh of relief.
IDC on Wednesday said a slowdown in China dragged the global smartphone market down by 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, to 334.3m unit shipments.
Apple managed to buck the trend, growing iPhone revenues by 14 per cent, the fastest rate in more than two years, thanks to its higher-priced X model. Even though unit volumes increased by just 3 per cent year on year, the iPhone’s average selling price was up 14 per cent. Apple’s guidance for the current quarter, ending in June, was also better than Wall Street had expected.
The strong performance follows similarly impressive results from fellow “FANG” tech giants last week. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet all confounded recent jitters by posting quarterly earnings that reconfirmed their ability to grow quickly and, for most, throw off huge amounts of cash.
“Significant inventory build in a tight commodity environment and with slowing smartphone growth is creating more noise than typical throughout the smartphone supply chain,” wrote analysts at Morgan Stanley. “Weaker iPhone supplier results suggested meaningful downside in the June quarter which didn’t come to fruition.”
Apple’s numbers helped two of the primary suppliers of optical components for the iPhone X facial-recognition system.
However, shares in other semiconductor suppliers to Apple in the US, including Broadcom, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, were little changed after Apple’s results on Wednesday morning.