Shares of Apple (AAPL - Free Report) were down nearly 2.5% through late afternoon trading hours Thursday, and it looks like a hesitation-inducing combination of market conditions and company-specific news is to blame.
First, and probably most importantly, stocks dipped nearly across the board during mid-day trading after analysts from JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) issued a very cautious warning about the recent decorrelation throughout the market.
“Over the past year, correlation of stocks and sectors declined at an unprecedented speed and magnitude,” said JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic.
Decorrelation means that, instead of stocks moving in the same directions at the same times, they are moving in sporadically different directions at different times. Markets tend to be most correlated when conditions are poor, as investors look to dump stocks universally.
When the market is calm and consistent, decorrelation occurs as investors become pickier with their decisions. And although a calm and consistent market sounds like a strong one, Kolanovic argues that extended periods of decorrelation tend to end with major corrections.
“A similar decorrelation occurred on only 2 other occasions over the last 30 years: in 1993 and 2000. Both of those episodes led to subsequent market weakness and an increase in volatility (in 1994, and 2001),” the analyst wrote.
The major indexes have been flirting with all-time highs nearly every day as of late, so it seems that JPMorgan’s caution is being met with agreement by some who think we may be due for a pullback soon.
Furthermore, Apple investors are grappling with the major announcement that one of its key suppliers, Foxconn, is setting up a manufacturing plant in the United States. Foxconn will spend about $10 billion over the next three years on the new facility, which will employ at least 3,000 people and focus on LCD screen production for TV maker Sharp .
For now, the new plant will have no effect on Apple’s supply chain, but the news comes just a few days after President Trump was quoted as saying that Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to build three new plants in the U.S. Increased investment in American manufacturing will help the domestic economy, but higher production costs could take a chunk out of Apple’s bottom line.
Finally, Apple announced Thursday that it was cutting its lineup of iPod models by discounting the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano. According to a company statement cited by Business Insider, Apple is also updating its iPod Touch models for the first time since 2015.
The advent of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has meant a shift away from MP3 players like the iPod, and that means Apple’s once-dominant devices are relatively obsolete. The discontinuation of the Shuffle and the Nano isn’t necessarily a bad sign, but it does underscore the fact that Apple is still grappling with several recent shifts in consumer behavior.
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