The St.Petersburg, Fla.-based Jabil yesterday issued weaker-than-expected guidance for fiscal year 2016, forecasting earnings of about $1.85 per share on revenue of $18.2 billion. Analysts had been looking for earnings of $2.10 per share on revenue of $18.45 billion. The company provides phone casings to Apple and relies for nearly a quarter of its revenue from the iPhone maker.
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Apple shares have dropped by about 24% in the past 12 months, underperforming the Nasdaq, which has fallen by 4.4% in the same period. The stock on Thursday edged down 0.8% to $96.40.
In April, Apple said it expects revenue in the range of $41 billion to $43 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2016, down from $50.6 billion in the second quarter. In the most recent quarter, global iPhone sales dropped to 51.18 million units from 74.78 million in the first quarter, according to Statista.
Whether the sales decline is temporary remains to be seen. Credit Suisse wrote that the company's upcoming iPhone7 will likely be overshadowed by Apple's next iPhone upgrade. The analysts said next year's release of the iPhone8 will have "significant innovations' that will drive 'an accelerated replacement cycle." They maintained its price target for Apple at $150.
But on Thursday, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall lowered his price target for Apple from $125 to $105, reflecting his outlook for the iPhone and Apple Watch. He downgraded his market penetration assumption for Apple Watch, and also said he believes his iPhone estimate of 68 million units for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 is well below consensus.
Gartner Inc. expects smartphone sales to rise by only single digits for the first time ever in 2016. It predicts growth of 7% to reach 1.5 billion units.
Turning our eyes to some of Apple's other major suppliers may provide some perspective on where the industry is headed.
Certainly, the share prices of some of Apple suppliers clearly indicate unease.
Shares in California-based Glu Mobile (GLUU) - Get Report have dropped from $6.49 a year ago to $2.34 as of Wednesday's close. The company is a major provider of iOS apps and mobile games and reportedly relies for nearly 65% of its revenue on Apple. Meanwhile, shares in San Diego-based chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report have dropped from $66.46 to $53.28.
In the same period, Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report shares have halved from $24.24 to $12.02, while shares in Japan's Murata Manufacturing have dropped from yen 19.925.0 to yen 12,000.0. Idaho-based Micron Technology provides memory modules like DRAM to Apple devices, while Kyoto's Murata Manufacturing sells ceramic capacitors to Apple.
However, a closer look provides a mixed picture. In fiscal 2016, Glu Mobile expects full-year total revenue to drop from $242.2 million to between $215.0 million and $235.0 million.
Meanwhile, Micron Technology expects DRAM industry bit supply growth to decrease in 2016 but to grow longer term. The company saw revenue drop from $3.35 billion in the first quarter of 2016 to $2.93 billion in the second quarter and expects it to come in within a range of $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion in the third quarter. In the second quarter, its mobile business unit was "negatively impacted by timing of product qualifications as customers are transitioned," but the segment is "well positioned for substantial volume growth by FQ4," it said.
Murata Manufacturing expects revenue to advance in the ongoing year, by 1.2 % to yen 1.22 trillion ($11.5 billion), backed by an outlook that capacitor sales will rise around 3%.
Whether the suppliers will remain highly reliant on Apple remains to be seen.
Jabil, for one, appears to be maintaining its high exposure to the tech giant, causing Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner to express caution.
"Despite the push out, JBL sees a strong snap back in F1Q-17, noting that it is maintaining share with its top customer (Apple)," wrote Scribner. "We continue to view high exposure to Apple as a risk, and given our cautious view on Apple's growth, we remain cautious on JBL."