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Apple Shrugs Off Report of Weak Demand in China for IPhones

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China fell an estimated 20% in the fourth quarter.

Apple Inc. was little changed on Monday as investors looked past a report its smartphone shipments plummeted in China in the final quarter of 2018, suggesting that issue, a major headwind over the past several months, is priced into the stock for now.

The stock briefly dipped as much as 0.6% before bouncing back, but is still underperforming the technology sector, which rose 0.3%. If Apple ends the day lower, it will be the first time this year it’s suffered a three-day decline.

According to research firm IDC, Apple’s smartphone shipments in China fell an estimated 20% in the fourth quarter, outpacing a 9.7% contraction in the Chinese domestic market. Demand for the iPhone was hurt by a slowing economy, higher prices, and longer replacement cycles.

Investors have long been concerned about the demand prospects for Apple’s flagship product, particularly in China, suggesting the trend found in the IDC report could already be priced into the stock. Shares of Apple are down more than 26% from record levels, though they’ve gained nearly 20% from a low in early January.

According to Bloomberg data, the iPhone accounted for more than 60% of Apple’s 2018 revenue, while it derived almost 20% of its revenue from China.

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