A customer inspects two Apple Inc. iPhone 7 smartphones at the Apple Store inside the IAPM shopping mall in Shanghai, China. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Trump Says He's Unconcerned About Apple's China Sales Warning

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he isn’t concerned that Apple Inc. has warned sales will fall short of expectations because of the trade war with China, an announcement that provoked a sell-off in the U.S. stock market.

“No, I’m not,” Trump said after he was asked at a White House news conference about Apple’s revenue warning this week.

Trump claimed that Apple’s stock price has gone up “hundreds of percent” since he took office. Apple’s stock price climbed 94 percent from its close the day before Trump’s inauguration through through Oct. 3, 2018 but has since fallen 36 percent.

Trump added that he has encouraged Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to build plants and more products in the U.S.

“Apple makes their product in China,” Trump said. “China is the biggest beneficiary of Apple, more than us.”

Apple said China sales came in lower than expected in the quarter ending Dec. 29 when it revised its revenue estimate downward.

Cook, citing weaker iPhone demand in China and fewer phone upgrades elsewhere, said sales will be about $84 billion in the holiday quarter -- as much as $9 billion less than prior estimates. The announcement after the market closed Wednesday sent shares down 10 percent Thursday -- the company’s worst day in about six years.

Cook attributed much of the “shortfall” in the outlook to struggles in China that he pinned on the economy and “rising trade tensions” with the U.S.

“As the climate of mounting uncertainty weighed on financial markets, the effects appeared to reach consumers as well, with traffic to our retail stores and our channel partners in China declining as the quarter progressed,” Cook said Wednesday in a letter to investors.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.