Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Jan. 3:
1. -- Stocks Sink Across the Globe After Apple Slashes Guidance
U.S. stock futures tumbled on Thursday, Jan. 3, after a revenue warning from Apple Inc. (AAPL) raised serious questions for the health of the upcoming U.S. corporate earnings season and the strength of the world economy.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 372 points, futures for the S&P 500 slumped 41 points, and Nasdaq futures sank 169 points.
Apple's warning sent ripples around world financial markets with investors piling into safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen amid renewed concerns over the impact of the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. Asian shares closed Thursday's session lower and European shares were falling sharply in early trading.
With the U.S. corporate earnings season only weeks away, and investors trimming expectations for 2019 profit growth to around 7% - sharply lower than last year's 24% pace - Apple's softer revenue guidance has the potential to extend the current market decline if other domestic companies find similar struggles in overseas markets.
2. -- Slow iPhone Sales in China Crimp Apple's Revenue
Apple was sliding 8.4% in premarket trading on Thursday after the tech giant cut its forecast for fiscal first-quarter revenue - the holiday quarter - thanks in part to slowing sales in China.
In a letter to investors published after the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said revenue for the three months ended in December would be about $84 billion, below analysts' estimates of roughly $94 billion and the company's own previous guidance of between $89 billion and $93 billion.
"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," Cook said. "In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPad."
Cook pinned the weaker iPhone demand in China on several factors, including a slowing economy worsened by "rising trade tensions with the United States" and high prices tied to the strength of the U.S. dollar.
- Apple Extends Declines, Pulling Chip Stocks Lower, as Tech Sags on China Concern
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"There is no sugar coating this announcement," wrote Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Apple in its portfolio. "It's a clear-cut setback for Apple and because of the company's size, it represents another indication of a weakening global economy. All in, we fully expect near-term pressure to ensue, but this guidance cut was a necessary evil as it will remove some of the uncertainty that has hung over the stock.
"Additionally, we reiterate how this announcement should not come completely unexpected (though its magnitude might be) as the maturation of the smartphone market is well understood and we are inclined to believe that this could be the 'flush' we were waiting for that allows shares to consolidate and investors to reset expectations," Cramer and the AAP team wrote.
3. -- FAANG Stocks Tumble on Apple's Warning
Apple's warning also sent shares of the other members of the FAANG group of stocks declining in premarket trading on Thursday. Facebook Inc. (FB) was down 1.5%, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) declined 2.5%, Netflix Inc. (NFLX) fell 1.8%, and Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) slumped 2.3%.
4. -- ADP Employment Report, Car Sales Are Highlights Of Thursday's Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes the ADP National Employment Report for December at 8:15 a.m. ET, weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m., the ISM Manufacturing Index for December at 10 a.m., and Construction Spending for November at 10 a.m.
U.S. carmakers, including Ford Motor Co. (F) , are expected to release sales data for December throughout the day.
5. -- Nordstrom Co-President Blake Nordstrom Dies at 58
Blake Nordstrom, who led upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) as co-president with his two brothers, has died. He was 58.
The Seattle-based company didn't disclose the cause of death, saying Nordstrom died unexpectedly early Wednesday. Last month, Nordstrom said that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, but that his cancer was treatable, the Associated Press reported.
The retailer said the company would continue to be led by brothers Erik and Peter Nordstrom. The company is publicly traded, but family members still own about 30% of the company's stock.