Apple Inc. Rallies After Positive China News

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Apple stock snapped a five-day losing streak today after news that the non-Android share of the smartphone market increased significantly in China during the second quarter. It’s just a tiny bit of good news out of a market that’s been heavily weighted down with bad news all week.

China is good for Apple

It’s especially good for Apple because it could alleviate some investor concerns that China’s stock market crash is keeping consumers from having enough money to buy shiny new Apple gadgets. Shares of Apple climbed as much as 2.62% to $123.22 per share during afternoon trading today.

They were approaching a key level on the stock chart as they neared the 200-day moving average of $118.72 per share. The stock didn’t touch that level but it came close, and Bloomberg reports that bearish options bets on Apples were up.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Apple VIX Index surged 31% between Tuesday and Thursday, making the biggest two-day move since March 2012, according to Bloomberg. One-month bearish puts were reportedly priced 7.8 points higher than their bullish counterparts, making the most expensive level for the skew, according to the news outlet.

Non-Android smartphones climb 165%

According to Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers and his team, the non-Android share of smartphone shipments in China during the second quarter climbed 165% year over year and 30% sequentially. Overall the total number of smartphones shipped in China during the quarter fell 9% year over year but increased 20% quarter over quarter to about 113 million. (Graphs in this article are courtesy Stifel.)


Apple riding high on 4G expansion

The Stifel team reported that 4G devices likely made up about 85% of the total mobile phone shipments during the June quarter. That marks a significant increase from 43% in last year’s third quarter, 68% in last year’s fourth quarter, and even 79% in the first quarter of this year. If the percentage is correct, it would mean that about 108 million 4G smartphones were shipped during the June quarter.

Further, they estimate that Android smartphones made up about 85% of the total smartphone shipments in China, a slight decline from 86% in the previous quarter. It’s also significantly down from 95% in the third quarter of last year, which was the quarter right before Apple ramped the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

At 15% of the total smartphone shipments in China, that would mean about 17 million smartphones shipped in China during the second quarter were non-Android devices, and it seems likely that Apple was the majority of them.


Concerns about Apple Watch sales

Another bit of news that had a negative impact on Apple shares this week was a report that Apple Watch sales had plummeted, falling 90% to fewer than 5,000 watches a day late last month and early this month. By comparison, Apple was reportedly selling more than 40,000 Apple Watches per day in the second half of Apple, according to data from Slice Intelligence.

Stifel has a Buy rating and $150 per share price target on Apple.

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