Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

La Bourse de New York a fini en net recul mardi en raison d'un nouvel accès de vigueur du dollar, susceptible de peser sur les résultats des sociétés cotées. /Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Brendan McDermid – Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, Jan. 3:

1. Apple plunges after slashing revenue forecast

Shares in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) plunged nearly 8% in premarket trade on Thursday after the iPhone maker slashed its quarterly revenue forecast as U.S.-Sino trade tensions hit sales in China.

Chief executive officer Tim Cook said the company expects sales of about $84 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 29, down from earlier estimates of $89 billion to $93 billion.

“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 letter to investors.

“It’s clear that the economy began to slow there (in China) for the second half and what I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy,” Cook explained in an interview with CNBC.

Wall Street analysts reacted to the news by cutting price targets for Apple by more than 15%.

2. Yen undergoes overnight ‘flash crash’ in currency markets

The scare from Apple sent investors scrambling for the safe haven yen which surged against all major rivals in overnight trade.

Traders, referring to the event as the first flash crash of 2019, explained that the lack of liquidity during twilight hours was exacerbated by the fact that markets in Tokyo were closed for the last day of its new-year holiday break and algorithmic trading.

In a matter of minutes, the yen surged across the board, reserving some of its biggest gains against the traditional high-yielding currencies favored by domestic retail investors such as the Australian dollar and the Turkish lira.

USD/JPY fell as low as 105.00 before paring losses and was last off 1.1% at 107.63 by 5:53 AM GMT (10:53 GMT).

3. Stocks retreat as Apple’s woes dampen sentiment

Although U.S. stocks managed to kick off 2019 with a small rebound after the worst December since the Great Depression, Apple’s surprise announcement was enough to return bearish sentiment to global stock markets. U.S. futures pointed to a negative open on Wall Street with the Dow on track for triple-digit decline. At 5:54 AM ET (10:54 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures fell 352 points, or 1.51%, S&P 500 futures lost 42 points, or 1.65%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures traded down 172 points, or 2.70%.

Elsewhere, European stocks felt the pain with the tech sector leading deep losses as iPhone chip suppliers declined sharply. The pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 was off more than 1%.

Earlier, Asian shares also closed lower as Apple’s warning adding to earlier concerns about the slowdown in the Chinese economy. Japan’s Nikkei remained closed for its New Year’s holiday.

4. Democrats seek to halt government shutdown, little hope for Trump acceptance

As the partial U.S. government shutdown headed for a 13th straight day, Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives planned to try and pass a bill on Thursday that would provide temporary funding for federal services to reactivate.

The bill however would not include funding for the Mexican border wall, a necessary condition for U.S. President Donald Trump to accept the plan.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that Senate Republicans would not approve a proposal that Trump does not support.

Expectations have shifted to Friday when congressional leaders are set to resume talks with Trump.

5. Oil prices decline as attention shifts to U.S. inventories

Oil prices fell on Thursday as stock market turmoil and global growth worries dampened appetite for risk assets and investors turned their attention to the latest weekly readings on U.S. inventories.

U.S. crude oil futures fell 34 cents, or 0.73%, to $46.20 by 5:55 AM ET (10:55 GMT), while Brent oil dipped 2 cents, or 0.04%, to $54.89.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly report on crude stockpiles at 4:30 PM ET (21:30 GMT), while official government figures are due on Friday amid expectations for a draw of 2.3 million barrels.

Both reports are released later than normal due to the New Year’s holiday.