Shares of Apple suppliers fall after Barclays downgrades iPhone maker

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CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone 15 Pro is displayed during an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Shares of Apple suppliers fell in Asia on Wednesday after Barclays downgraded the iPhone maker on concerns that demand for its products would remain weak in 2024.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fell more than 2% in Wednesday morning trading. TSMC is a top producer of the world’s most advanced processors for companies such as Apple and Nvidia.

Another major Apple supplier Hon Hai Technology Group, also known as Foxconn, dropped 1.33%. Taiwan-based Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and assembles Apple’s iPhones.

Technology and chip stocks including Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix dropped more than 2%, while LG Electronics fell 1.78%, dragging South Korea’s Kospi lower 1.85%.

“We’re seeing that suppliers are still seeing robust growth on the iPhone 15. We’re in the middle of a supercycle,” said Ray Wang of Silicon Valley-based Constellation Research on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“There’s still 200 to 300 million iPhones that get replaced onto 5G, at least for the next 24 months, so I’m not sure exactly the downgrade on growth, but on valuation, I can understand maybe that’s where the hit will be,” Wang told CNBC on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Barclays downgraded Apple’s stock to underweight and trimmed its price target to $160 from $161, citing weakness in iPhone 15 sales, signaling likely lower demand for iPhone 16 and other products. Apple shares closed 3.58% lower on Tuesday.

“We are still picking up weakness on iPhone volumes and mix, as well as a lack of bounce-back in Macs, iPads and wearables,” said analyst Tim Long on Tuesday, in a note to clients.

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UBS in a Jan. 3 report said that TSMC was “poised for a strong rebound in 2024” and maintained a buy rating despite trimming its price target to 750 Taiwan dollars from 760 Taiwan dollars.

“We think TSMC is in a sweet spot for growth over the next 18 months from its very high share on 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer and leverage to builds on cloud AI plus positioned to benefit from any rise in edge AI lifting large endpoint markets of PC, smartphone and IoT,” said UBS.

– CNBC’s Shreyashi Sanyal contributed to this report.

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