Apple cuts first quarter 2019 revenue guidance, cites disappointing iPhone sales

Apple (AAPL) unexpectedly slashed its revenue forecast for the fiscal first quarter of 2019, citing weakness in its key market in China and lower-than-anticipated iPhone revenue.

The company said in a filing released after market close Wednesday that it now sees first quarter revenue of about $84 billion, from $91.3 billion anticipated previously.

Trading was halted for Apple shares at about 4:25 p.m. ET in advance of the release of the announcement. The stock declined 8.49% to $144.51 per share when trading resumed 25 minutes later, hitting the lowest level since July 2017.

In the filing, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the reduced guidance to weakness in emerging markets and in Greater China.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the opening ceremony of the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song
Nov 25, 2017; Auburn, AL, USA; Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook arrives for College GameDay before the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at The Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Apple CEO Tim Cook (R) plays with an iPhone as Jonathan Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, looks on during a launch event in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Commencement Exercises at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Apple CEO Tim Cook smiles as he arrives to a product demo during the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Tim Cook, CEO, speaks during Apple's annual world wide developer conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook waves during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook makes his closing remarks during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks during a event for students to learn to write computer code at the Apple store in the Manhattan borough of New York December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the Wall Street Journal Digital Live ( WSJDLive ) conference at the Montage hotline Laguna Beach, California October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on as the new iPhone X goes on sale at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. The highly anticipated iPhone X went on sale around the world today. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, Inc., smiles as he greets customers during the opening of the new Apple Michigan Avenue store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. The building features exterior walls made entirely of glass with four interior columns supporting a 111-by-98 foot carbon-fiber roof, designed to minimize the boundary between the city and the Chicago River. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20: Apple CEO Tim Cook greets guests at the grand opening of Apple's Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue October 20, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The glass-sided store sits on shore of the Chicago River in the city's downtown. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20: Apple CEO Tim Cook greets guests at the grand opening of Apple's Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue October 20, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The glass-sided store sits on shore of the Chicago River in the city's downtown. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The forum, hosted during UN General Assembly week, brings leaders to work together, through on-the-record main stage discussions and private bilateral and multilateral meetings, to address the most pressing economic issues facing us today. Photographer: Misha Friedman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple CEO Tim Cook (R) and Apple chief design officer Jonathan Ive (L) look at the new Apple iPhone X during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Apple held their first special event at the new Apple Park campus where they announced the new iPhone 8, iPhone X and the Apple Watch Series 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a media event at Apple's new headquarters where Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone and other products in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 12: Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, attends the second day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 09: CEO of Apple Tim Cook looks on before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on June 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the commencement address during the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commencement at Killian Court on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA on Jun. 9, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook reacts before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers on June 9, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Technology television interview at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S., on Monday, June 5, 2017. Cook�said the company has helped U.K. officials investigate terror attacks, while reiterating his dismay over U.S. plans to quit the Paris agreement on climate change. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 05: Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the opening keynote address the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the five-day WWDC that runs through June 9. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on during a visit of the shopfitting company Dula that delivers tables for Apple stores worldwide in Vreden, western Germany, on February 7, 2017. / AFP / dpa / Bernd Thissen / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read BERND THISSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 27: Apple CEO Tim Cook smiles during a product launch event on October 27, 2016 in Cupertino, California. Apple Inc. unveiled the latest iterations of its MacBook Pro line of laptops and TV app. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
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“While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” Cook said in a statement. “In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPad.”

While weaker sales in China and other emerging markets contributed to the “vast majority of the year-over-year iPhone revenue decline,” in some developed markets, iPhone upgrades also came in weaker-than-expected, Cook said.

“While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, U.S. dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements,” Cook said.

Aside from the revenue forecast reduction, other items remain broadly in line with Apple’s previously issued guidance, based on the most recent statement. The company said it expects gross margins of 38%, operating expenses of $8.7 billion, other income/(expense) of $550 million and a tax rate of 16.5% before discrete items for the fiscal first quarter of 2019.

This post is being updated.

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