Apple Suppliers Slammed, but Experts Say Buy
Assistant Producer, CNBC Asia
While shares of Apple suppliers in Asia tanked on Thursday after the U.S. consumer technology giant missed revenue forecasts for the fourth quarter, strategists view the pullback as an attractive buying opportunity for the stocks.
"While the soft guidance (for January to March) will certainly put pressure on Apple's Asia supply chain today, we believe now is the time to accumulate, not take profit, especially for investors with a 3- to 6-month or longer time horizon," Kirk Yang, head of Asia tech hardware research at Barclays, wrote in a note following the earnings release.
(Read More: Apple Stops Playing 'Beat the Street' Games)
Disappointing earnings triggered a sizable fall in Apple's components maker stocks listed in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which were trading down as much as 6 percent on Thursday.
Shares of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, which assemble the iPhones and iPads, fell 2.7 percent, Hong Kong-listed supplier of microphones and mini-speakers ACC Technologies (ACC) was down 5.7 percent and Japanese circuit board producer Ibiden was down 4.2 percent at 0352 GMT on Thursday.
Apple orders account for 40-50 percent of revenue at Hon Hai and ACC, according to analyst estimates.
Apple's revenue rose 18 percent to $54.5 billion in the three months to December - lower than analyst estimates for $54.73 billion - as sales of its flagship iPhone came in below expectations, prompting concerns that the electronics maker may be losing its foothold in the global smartphone market.
(Read More: Apple's Revenue Falls Short, Shares Dive)
The company also delivered revenue guidance for the January to March quarter in a range of $41 billion to $43 billion, below expectations of $45.38 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters, sending shares of the company tumbling around 10 percent.
Yang's optimism over Apple's suppliers lies in Apple's "strong product map" for the second half of 2013. The company is slated to release 2-3 new iPhones, a high-resolution iPad and Apple TV over the July-December period, according to Yang.
Barclays has an overweight call on Hon Hai, ACC, Taiwanese camera lens maker Largan and Taiwanese circuit board manufacturer Zheng Ding, forecasting between 20 and 40 percent upside for the above stocks over the next 12 months.
Roger Kay, president and founder at Endpoint Technologies, also has an optimistic view of Apple's component makers.
"Apple did say it was constrained in supply in a lot of ways, that's good news in a sense because as Asian suppliers catch up and are able to produce what Apple says it can sell, that will be good for both the suppliers and Apple," he said.
In a conference call with analysts following the earnings announcement, Apple reported that it had faced shortages in the supply of the iPad Mini, iMac and iPhone 4 in the fourth quarter.
(Read More: Apple's iPad Mini: What It Means for Investors)
Steven Pelayo, regional head of technology research at HSBC, said he recommends investing in companies that have exposure to those particular products.
One such company is Taiwan-listed Radiant, which makes a component which goes into the backlight of iMacs and iPad minis.
"We're hoping there's a bit of a relative outperformance from names with better relative exposure to the products that are strongest," Pelayo said.