On Tuesday, Trump said that he's now leaning towards pushing for a trade deal with China after the 2020 election. The S&P 500 had run up as much as 8.5% in the past three months, with Apple up as much as 30% in that span, with Apple's gain also related to stronger-than-expected iPhone sales and its growing services business.
Apple shares were falling 2.60% to $257.30 on Tuesday.
"These comments bring the looming China December 15th tariff back into play for tech investors with Apple and semi stocks front and center," wrote Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives in a note out Tuesday. "Trump commentary... adds fuel to the fire for the overall market as we head into the Fort Sumter-like December 15th date with Apple and semi stocks looking square at the $160 billion dark cloud over its head into holiday season."
Trump recently hinted that Apple could be exempt from the December tariffs, but it's not yet clear that would be the case should the tariffs go into effect. As things stand now, the Dec. 15 tariffs would affect consumer electronics including smartphones and other devices made by Apple.
Ives estimates that the 10% December 15 tariffs would result in a roughly 4%, or 50 cent, hit to Apple's earnings per share for 2020. Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for EPS of $12.95. Ives, along with other Wall Street analysts, notes that Apple could absorb the added cost from the tariff, or it could pass the cost increase on to consumers, "which will modestly dent demand in the U.S," Ives said. He recently told TheStreet in an email the demand destruction would be roughly 8% of all iPhones expected to be sold in 2020.
Apple shares are up 63% year-to-date.