Why Apple, ON Semiconductor, and Cars.com Slumped Today

The trade war is taking a toll. Meanwhile, Cars.com failed to find a buyer.

Evan Niu
Evan Niu, CFA
Aug 5, 2019 at 5:04PM
Technology and Telecom

Escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China triggered a broad market sell-off on Monday, with many American and Chinese companies getting caught in the crossfire of President Trump's trade war with the Middle Kingdom. The latest shot across the bow was China devaluing the yuan against the U.S. dollar, which threatens to hurt U.S. exports by relatively raising costs for Chinese importers and consumers buying American goods.

Among prominent decliners today were Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), ON Semiconductor (NASDAQ:ON), and Cars.com (NYSE:CARS).

Chinese worker inspecting an iPhone

Image source: Apple.

Apple expected to eat tariff costs

Given its strong manufacturing presence in China, Apple stands to be adversely impacted by ongoing escalations in the U.S.-China trade war, and shares finished down 5%. Trump recently announced plans to impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of goods coming out of China, which will impact many of the Mac maker's most important products. Apple had been seeking an exemption for various components within its forthcoming Mac Pro, but Trump announced on social media that the company would not get any such relief. Widely followed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note to investors suggesting that the company would likely absorb the additional costs instead of passing along the costs to consumers in the form of higher prices, hurting profitability.

Tariffs hurting ON demand

ON Semiconductor similarly has a lot of exposure to U.S.-China trade tensions, and the stock dropped nearly 11% after the company reported second-quarter earnings results. Revenue fell 7% to $1.35 billion, which translated into adjusted earnings per share of $0.42. Consensus estimates called for $1.38 billion in sales and $0.42 per share in adjusted profits. "Business conditions continue to be soft, and we expect to see sub-seasonal demand trends in the near-term, as geopolitical factors will likely continue to weigh on demand," CEO Keith Jackson said in a statement. On the conference call, Jackson added, "Greater China region has been the primary source of weakness in the industrial market, but we have recently seen stabilization in business trends." ON also guided the third quarter below expectations. Revenue is expected to be approximately $1.36 billion to $1.41 billion, shy of the $1.46 billion in sales that analysts are modeling for.

Cars.com crashes after no buyer emerges

In a slew of bad news, Cars.com reported disappointing second-quarter earnings results, offered a soft outlook for 2019, and said it failed to find a buyer. Shares plummeted 34.5%. Revenue in the second quarter fell 12% to $148.2 million, missing the market's expectations of $160 million in sales. On the bright side, adjusted net income was $20 million, or $0.30 per share, topping the consensus estimate of $0.10 in adjusted earnings per share. Cars.com cut its full-year outlook and now expects revenue to decline between 6% and 9%, down from its previous forecast of a 5% decrease to a 2% increase. The company had announced a strategic review in January in hopes of finding a buyer, but the board said today that it has now concluded that review with no takers. "The process did not yield actionable options for a sale of the Company," Chairman Scott Forbes said in a statement. "As a result, and after consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the Board has concluded that the best interests of shareholders are served by continuing to focus on our strategic plan and opportunities to drive growth and shareholder returns as an independent public company."