Apple is the new Nokia

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I have talked to a few people, both at Apple service centers and at third-party authorized fix centers, who report that there had been a significant uptick in iPhones coming in for battery replacement over the final few months of the program, so maybe this did indeed have a bigger than anticipated effect on holiday sales.

Analysts and investors had been expecting a downturn in Apple's success for some time, after the company said it would stop disclosing unit sales data for its iPhones and other hardware products in November.

The broader S&P 500 fell 24 points, or 1 per cent, to 2,485. The uptick comes a day after the stock shed 9%.

London's blue-chip bourse ended 0.1pc higher, while the mid-cap index was up 0.5pc after steep losses earlier yesterday.

"While Tim Cook blamed a slowing China economy and trade tension, we maintain that in our opinion the iPhone ASP is the biggest problem given uninspiring specs and rising competition in China and in Europe", the analysts wrote.

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The company's warning rattled Wall Street investors who were already jittery about China.

Trump also seemed to suggest that the reason for Apple's recent misstep was the location of their manufacturing plants.

With a company as large and dominant as Apple, any uncertainty or concern in the company reverberates quickly and sharply throughout the company's supply chain.

Meanwhile, Huawei and Oppo - two of Apple's competitors in Chinese markets - have reported higher valued market shares within the a year ago. The news also hit companies that provide components to the United States tech giant. It was essentially flat at closing on Wednesday but was down more than 300 points, or 1.5%, in the first half-hour of trading Thursday. Catcher Technology, which makes iPhone cases, dropped almost 6%.

Last night, before the company briefly stopped trading to make its announcement, the stock stood at $157.92 a share.

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What happens in China matters for businesses and markets across the globe.

Apple stopped disclosing unit sales reports for its phones in November, which Wall Street immediately took as the tech giant attempting to hide a downturn in sales.

According to Business Insider, $450 billion has been wiped from Apple's value since the company hit its peak on October 3. Despite signs that the Chinese economy is slowing, the group held to its pricing strategy and relied on expensive equipment. In the third quarter, China reported a GDP growth of 6.5%, the weakest since 2009. And 2019 looks even worse. China's economy has been pinched by the ongoing Sino-US trade war which is spilling over to other Asian economies.

That has created a period of historic volatility in the stock market. What's more, the company has set aside $100 billion for stock buy-back purposes. Apple's shares were briefly suspended on Wednesday night, and in post-market trading fell by up to 8pc, wiping nearly $60bn off its value.

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