Shares in Apple's Japan suppliers stumble over iPhone sales

TOKYO Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:22pm EST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares in Apple Inc's Japanese component makers took a beating on Tuesday after the U.S. tech giant missed Wall Street's target for iPhone sales over the key holiday shopping season and offered a weaker-than-expected outlook.

The world's most valuable technology company sold a record 51 million iPhones in the December quarter, but that was shy of the 55 million or so analysts had expected, reflecting intense competition from arch-rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd during the crucial period.

Apple shares sagged 8 percent in after hours trading following the announcement.

The results weighed on Apple's Japanese suppliers, with Alps Electric Co Ltd, Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd, TDK Corp and Nitto Denko Corp down between 0.9 and 3.9 percent.

"The company is unlikely to expect profit growth from now on as the iPhone market has been saturated," a fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm said.

"In order to sell in China and emerging countries, the company needs to cut prices more aggressively, so there is also pressure on parts makers."

Other Japanese suppliers came under pressure including Sharp Corp, Rohm Co Ltd, Ibiden Co Ltd, Foster Electric Co Ltd and Hirose Electric Co Ltd, off between 0.6 and 1.8 percent.

"The Apple numbers were a bit low. That's why the negative reaction," a Tokyo-based trader said.

But he remained positive on the Japanese parts makers, saying Apple was not the only customer for them.

"Those Japanese component makers have actually a wide-range of clients. They are quite competitive," he said.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau and Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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