Apple plunges after slashing revenue guidance for its holiday quarter (AAPL)

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Market jitters even extended briefly to the Brexit-battered pound, which tumbled to a 21-month low close to $1.24 overnight against the U.S. dollar in a "flash crash" triggered by an exodus from currencies considered riskier - before very quickly recovering the losses to return to around $1.26.

Japanese markets have tumbled as they reopened after the New Year holidays, while other Asian indexes are mixed after a technology-led sell-off on Wall Street. Tech shares took a 1.7% hit.

"When the largest and second-largest economies in the world get into a trade dispute, the rest of the world's going to feel the effects".

The rare revenue warnings from Apple suggested weaker-than-anticipated sales of iPhones and other gadgetry, in part because of trade frictions between Washington and Beijing.

"Some investors will consider the stock broken. but we've followed the company long enough to know there is cyclicality in the market's relationship with Apple".

A report suggesting that US manufacturing had slowed also weighed on sentiment.

Apple dropped 10 percent, erasing $74.6 billion in value.

The S&P 500 index plunged almost 2.5 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost more than three percent.

He cites a number of reasons for the revised figures, including the timing of iPhone sales, the strength of the dollar, market saturation, and lower than expected numbers of iPhone upgrades - this being partly blamed on the high uptake of Apple's reduced-price battery upgrade program introduced a little over a year ago.

On Thursday, Henry Zhu, a student from Shenzhen, was browsing a Xiaomi store at the upscale Parkview Green mall in Beijing as he considered the relative attractiveness of Apple's latest products. Copper, which is used in construction and wiring, fell 2.1 percent to $2.57 a pound.

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Technology stocks led the declines with chipmakers and other phone part suppliers both in the U.S. and around the world in the red.

Airlines were also falling sharply after Delta trimmed its revenue forecast. It was down as much as 677 earlier.

Apple said China sales came in lower than expected in the quarter ending December 29 when it revised its revenue estimate downward.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 500 points in morning trading Thursday.

Apple's stock has slumped 39 percent since early October.

That spells trouble for companies that rely on China's enormous market to boost their global sales. The Dow slid 2.8 percent to 22,868.22.

Apple's top-of-the-line iPhones like iPhone XS Max, which were released in fall 2018, sold for more than 1,000 dollars, far more expensive than most China-made mobile phones on the Chinese market.

Apple stock plunged 8.54 per cent to US$144.44 by midday Thursday.

Apple's iPhones are also the only smartphones on the planet that run the company's iOS, which can make it harder for current iOS device owners - particularly those who have invested in Apple's app ecosystem - to justify switching to an alternative smartphone brand.

Gold climbed 0.8 percent to $1,294.80 an ounce.

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