Apple, Nvidia shares fall after a key Asian chip partner gives weak guidance

Customers try the new iPhone 8 at the Apple store on September 22, 2017 in Hong Kong, China.

Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Customers try the new iPhone 8 at the Apple store on September 22, 2017 in Hong Kong, China.

A major Asian chip manufacturer’s weaker-than-expected guidance for the June quarter is driving technology stocks lower.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing said Thursday its revenue forecast range for the second quarter is $7.8 billion to $7.9 billion versus the Wall Street estimate of $8.8 billion.

“Moving into second quarter 2018, continued weak demand from our mobile sector will negatively impact our business despite strength in cryptocurrency mining,” Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho said in a statement.

TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor foundry company, manufacturing chips for leading technology firms including Apple and Nvidia.

Morgan Stanley said Apple’s iPhone was a big reason for TSMC’s poor guidance.

“Smartphone semi weakness [is] the main reason for the revenue shortfall,” analyst Charlie Chan wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “Beside the order cuts from the current Apple iPhone X processor, we attribute the major revenue shortfall in the smartphone segment to key customer MediaTek … and around a month’s delay of Apple’s new 7nm processor to July.”

Apple shares are down 1.7 percent Thursday, while Nvidia is down 2.0 percent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing shares fell 5 percent.

TSMC on its conference call blamed “softening” demand in the high-end smartphone market and being more conservative over the cryptocurrency mining industry for its disappointing forecast.

The company said it had 56 percent market share of the global chip foundry market last year. Its revenue split for 2017 was 10 percent from computers, 59 percent from communications, 8 percent from consumer products and 23 percent from the industrial sector.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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