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Apple shares drop below US$100 for first time since August

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Apple Inc shares dropped below US$100 for the first time in nearly five months on Wednesday following reports of slowing shipments of the tech company's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Apple Inc shares dropped below US$100 for the first time in nearly five months on Wednesday following reports of slowing shipments of the tech company's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

The stock briefly traded as low as US$99.87, its lowest level since Aug 24, a day when the entire stock market suffered a brief 'flash crash'. Apple shares traded as low as US$92 that day.

Apple stock closed down nearly 2 per cent at US$100.70 on Nasdaq on Wednesday, amid a broadly lower stock market. They have not closed below US$100 since Oct 20, 2014.

The stock's decline comes as a growing number of analysts are trimming their estimates for iPhone sales - the bedrock of Apple's business - with some predicting sales this year will decline on an annual basis for the first time since the phone was introduced.

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The iPhone accounts for the vast majority of Apple's revenue and profits, and reports about slowing sales have weighed on the stock, which is down 20 per cent over the last six months.

There are also increasing signs of a slowdown affecting Apple suppliers in Asia.

Key Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn will cut working hours over the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, a person familiar with the matter said, which would be a rare move.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, assembles the latest iPhones at factories in China where it employs hundreds of thousands of people, and typically offers incentives such as triple overtime pay over China's biggest holiday.

Foxconn said in a statement that it was "in the midst of planning operational schedules for the Lunar New Year holiday," but gave no details. Apple did not return requests for comment. "Chinese New Year is a big holiday and there is usually overtime for workers. But this year, Foxconn will have a normal break," the person familiar with the matter said, referring to the Lunar New Year which falls on Feb 8.

The person with knowledge of the matter was not authorised to speak with the media and declined to be identified.

Japanese daily Nikkei, citing parts suppliers, said output of the models would be cut by about 30 per cent in the January-March time frame so dealers could offload stock.

REUTERS

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