The Apple Inc. logo is displayed at one of the company’s stores in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg)

White House Predicts ‘Heck of a Lot’ of Companies Sharing Apple Pain

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s trade war with China will force many U.S. companies to join Apple Inc. in announcing lower than expected earnings, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said.

“It’s not going to be just Apple,” CEA chairman Kevin Hassett said in an interview on CNN. “There are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China.”

Hassett argued that a softer economy in China is cutting into U.S. companies’ sales there and that the economic pain gives Trump leverage in ongoing trade negotiations. “That puts a lot of pressure on China to make a deal,” he said.

In the long run, U.S. companies should benefit despite the short-term damage to their bottom line, he added.

“If we have a successful negotiation with China then Apple’s sales and everybody else’s sales will recover,” he said, before predicting that U.S. economic growth would continue to be strong.

Apple said Wednesday that the company’s sales will be about $84 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 29, down from earlier estimates of $89 billion to $93 billion. It was the first time the company cut its revenue outlook in nearly two decades. Apple shares fell as much as 9.6 percent as the market opened in New York on Thursday.

Apple’s announcement “is something that one should expect,” Hassett said.

“The Chinese economy is slowing in a way that I haven’t seen in a decade,” he said. “That’s going to be bad” for U.S. companies that have a lot of business in China, he added.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.