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Apple Warning Boosts Trade in Chip-Heavy Fund to Two-Year High

Stock Markets Feb 18, 2020 01:03PM ET
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© Reuters. Apple Warning Boosts Trade in Chip-Heavy Fund to Two-Year High

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).’s sales warning sent chipmakers tumbling on while spurring a surge in turnover for the industry’s exchange-traded funds.

More than 54,000 shares worth about $14 million of the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF, or SOXX, traded before markets opened in New York -- the most in two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund sank 1.5% at 12:53 p.m. Monday in New York, largely trailing the broader stock market. Trading in the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF, or SMH, also surged.

For the second time in as many years, Apple had to temper its sales outlook because of unexpected shifts in China, the country that’s served as the engine of its growth and success. First, there was a trade war with the U.S. and now there are concerns over a novel coronavirus that resulted in some manufacturing delays and retail-store closings in the Asian nation. While analysts argue that the impact from the outbreak would be temporary for both the tech giant and its suppliers, for now, the worries are sinking the industry’s shares.

Tech More Volatile Than Broader Market Amid Apple Warning: Chart

“In the near term, it’s going to be a volatile sector,” said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade. “If those factories are offline too long, you’re going to see some of these companies come out and cut revenue and earnings for the year. And the initial shock of that news coming out will cause a pretty big pullback in semiconductors.”

That’s the latest sign that the coronavirus could have a larger impact on economic growth than first anticipated. The virus is the third-biggest tail risk after the U.S. presidential election and a bursting of the bond “bubble,” according to Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).’s fund-manager survey conducted this month. The poll released Tuesday showed global growth expectations for the next year has tumbled to a net 18% from 36% in January, driven by a drop in sentiment toward Chinese output.

“That’s an area that could be ripe for investors to be nosing around at,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer for UBS Global Wealth Management. “The market is taking it out on some of the semiconductor stocks, partly because they are cyclical stocks and global growth matters a lot to cyclical stocks.”

(Adds trading.)

Apple Warning Boosts Trade in Chip-Heavy Fund to Two-Year High
 

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