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Apple Slips Lower as Supplier Foxconn Cautions on 'Materials Shortage'

Foxconn, Apple's most important supplier, cautions that the ongoing shortage in semiconductor supplies could hit its current-quarter orders.

Apple (AAPL)  shares traded lower Tuesday after its biggest and most important supplier cautioned that a 'materials shortage' could hit its supply chain in the coming months. 

Foxconn  (FXCNY) , the world's biggest electronics manufacturer, said net profits for the three months ending in December fell 4% from last year to T$45.97 billion ($1.6 billion), missing Street forecasts even as revenue rose by 15% thanks to solid smartphone sales.

However, Foxconn chairman Liu Yougn-way said that while the group expects 'better-than-normal' current quarter sales, both "the pandemic and the materials shortage could impact our performance going forward."

Apple shares were marked 1.2% lower in early trading Tuesday to change hands at $119.90 each, a move that would extend their two-month decline to around 16%.

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Earlier this month, Samsung Electronics warned that the global shortage in semiconductor supplies has created a "serious imbalance" that is affecting production in everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.

The pandemic's impact in semiconductor production, however has meant the industry is unable to keep pace with neither current nor forecast demand, creating a marked shortage in new supplies that has slowed investment plans for carmakers such as Volkswagen VWAGY, General Motors GM and Ford F and game console makers such as Sony Corp.

Another key Apple supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd., TSM , said in early January that the expected increase in global chip demand, driven by work-from-home dynamics that boost computer purchases and cloud storage needs as well as 5G network rollouts that will trigger smartphone upgrades and will likely power revenue growth for at least the next five years.  

Apple said on January 27 that it sees revenue growing on an year-on-year basis, but declined to provide detailed guidance for either sales or bottom line earnings. Gross margins, Apple said, will likely be flat on a quarter-to-quarter basis.