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Dow Jones News: More Bad China News for Apple; Walgreens Down as CVS Sued

By Timothy Green - Dec 17, 2019 at 2:53PM

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Another analyst points to collapsing iPhone sales in China, and CVS's billing practices lead to a lawsuit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.23%) had gained 0.2% by 2:15 p.m. EST Tuesday, running up the score as the year comes to an end. The Dow is up a little more than 21% so far this year.

Shares of Apple (AAPL -0.14%) managed to rise on Tuesday despite more negative sales data out of China. Meanwhile, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 0.03%) stock was down after CVS Health (CVS 0.38%) was sued for its billing practices.

Another analyst finds dismal iPhone sales in China

Some bad news for Apple emerged last week when Credit Suisse said that iPhone sales in China had tumbled 35.4% in November, despite slight growth for the regional smartphone market. That decline followed a 10.3% slump in October.

On Tuesday, another analyst found a similar trend via channel checks. Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang said that iPhone sales in China had fallen by roughly 30% year over year in November. Looking ahead, Zhang sees 5G smartphone launches in China putting further pressure on iPhone sales.

A smartphone with a cracked screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Zhang maintained his sell rating on Apple stock, as well as his $150 price target. That's a particularly pessimistic view, given that the stock trades for around $280 right now. But collapsing iPhone sales in China is some seriously bad news for the tech giant. iPhone demand in the U.S. appears to be reasonably strong, but China could be a big drag on the company's holiday-quarter numbers.

At the very least, Apple dodged a major bullet when tariffs set to go into effect on Dec. 15 were delayed. The proposed tariffs would have hit electronic devices including smartphones, forcing Apple to either raise prices and hurt demand or eat the cost and take a hit to its profits.

Shares of Apple were up 0.2% despite the troubling China data. The stock is up about 78% since the beginning of the year.

Walgreens down as CVS sued by the government

Shares of drug store chain Walgreens were down 0.9% after news broke that rival CVS was being sued by the U.S. government for fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for drugs without valid prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Justice joined two whistle-blower suits accusing CVS's Omnicare unit of filling expired prescriptions and submitting false claims to government healthcare programs. Shares of CVS were down 1.4%.

CVS defended itself in a statement: "We are confident that Omnicare's dispensing practices will be found to be consistent with state requirements and industry-accepted practices."

This news has nothing to do with Walgreens, but the lawsuit could be spooking investors nonetheless. Walgreens is in the middle of an effort to go private, which is likely a long shot given the size of the company. Shares of Walgreens enjoyed an initial pop after the plans were reported, but they've been fading ever since. This lawsuit isn't helping matters.

Walgreens stock has performed poorly this year, down about 16% year to date.

Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$165.35 (-0.14%) $0.23
CVS Health Corporation Stock Quote
CVS Health Corporation
$102.26 (0.38%) $0.39
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Stock Quote
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
$38.99 (0.03%) $0.01
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$32,803.47 (0.23%) $76.65

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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