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Tech Stocks This Week: Apple Slides, Roku Gets Slammed, and More

By Daniel Sparks – Dec 15, 2018 at 9:41PM

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Analysts lower their outlook for Apple and Roku as Facebook impresses with stats on Facebook Watch.

The market continued to decline this week. The S&P 500 fell about 1.3%, bringing the market index's pullback since Oct. 1 to 11%. Of course, some stocks dropped even faster during the week. Two of these stocks were tech giant Apple (AAPL -0.91%) and streaming TV platform Roku (ROKU -4.51%). These two stocks finished the week down 1.8% and 11.9%, respectively.

This week's top stories in tech include a look a look at what drove Apple and Roku to outsize losses as well as a notable update from Facebook (META -1.16%) on its initiative to ramp up its video efforts with Watch.

The word, Technology, over computer codes in the background

Image source: Getty Images.


Apple stock took a hit this week when well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, by way of CNBCrevised his iPhone shipment estimates lower. Citing lower demand for the company's new iPhone XR, the less expensive version of the two new models that came out this fall, the analyst lowered his estimates for overall iPhone shipments for the first quarter of 2019 by 20%.

Kuo now expects first-quarter iPhone shipments to be between 38 million and 42 million. The midpoint of this guidance range implies a 23% year-over-year decline in iPhone shipments. 

The analysts' pessimistic view for the iPhone compounds growing negative sentiment toward the product segment, which is Apple's largest. Shares have now fallen 27% since Oct. 1.


Shares of streaming TV platform Roku have been falling sharply during Q4, driven primarily by a combination of a sell-off of tech stocks and worse-than-expected platform revenue for the company's third quarter. Shares were pressured further this week, as an analyst who has been extremely bullish on the stock cut her 12-month price target for shares, from $85 to $45.

Needham analyst Laura Martin, by way of Barron's, said U.S.-China trade tensions may negatively affect sales of China-made Roku-enabled televisions in the United States. In addition, Martin believes investors' growing appetite for profitable companies as opposed to ones still reporting losses -- like Roku -- could translate to a suppressed stock price.

It's worth noting, however, that Martin's lowered 12-month price target still implies 35% upside compared with the stock's $33.42 share price as of market close on Friday.


Social network Facebook managed to escape the market's pullback this week. Shares gained about 5%. One factor that probably contributed to the stock's rise during the week was an optimistic update from the company on its streaming video platform, Watch.

A banner celebrating Facebook Watch's 400 million monthly active users

Image source: Facebook.

"Three months since our global launch, there are already more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily who spend at least one minute on Watch -- and on average, these 75 million daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes in Watch," said Facebook head of video Fidji Simo in a press release. In addition, Simo said users are "regularly coming back" to watch programming they care about and are "watching for longer periods of time."

Looking ahead, Facebook said it wants to help people connect through Watch with further investment in features like Watch Parties in Groups, which the company said have generated "eight times more comments than regular videos in Groups." In addition, Facebook wants to make the video experience feel more unified across its platform, create more ways for creators to earn money, and invest in more original content.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Facebook. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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