Apple, Nvidia shares fall after a key Asian chip partner gives weak guidance

  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing says its revenue forecast range for the second quarter is $7.8 billion to $7.9 billion versus the Wall Street estimate of $8.8 billion.
  • The key chip partner for Apple and Nvidia blames "softening" high-end smartphone demand and being more conservative on the cryptocurrency mining market for its weak guidance.
  • Morgan Stanley says Apple's iPhone was a big reason for TSMC's poor guidance.

A major Asian chip manufacturer's weaker-than-expected guidance for the June quarter drove technology stocks lower.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing said Thursday its revenue forecast range for the second quarter is $7.8 billion to $7.9 billion versus the Wall Street estimate of $8.8 billion.

"Moving into second quarter 2018, continued weak demand from our mobile sector will negatively impact our business despite strength in cryptocurrency mining," Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho said in a statement.

TSMC is the world's largest semiconductor foundry company, manufacturing chips for leading technology firms including Apple and Nvidia.

Morgan Stanley said Apple's iPhone was a big reason for TSMC's poor guidance.

"Smartphone semi weakness [is] the main reason for the revenue shortfall," analyst Charlie Chan wrote in a note to clients Thursday. "Beside the order cuts from the current Apple iPhone X processor, we attribute the major revenue shortfall in the smartphone segment to key customer MediaTek ... and around a month's delay of Apple's new 7nm processor to July."

Apple shares declined 2.8 percent Thursday, while Nvidia dropped 3.1 percent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing shares fell 5.7 percent.

TSMC on its conference call blamed "softening" demand in the high-end smartphone market and being more conservative over the cryptocurrency mining industry for its disappointing forecast.

The company said it had 56 percent market share of the global chip foundry market last year. Its revenue split for 2017 was 10 percent from computers, 59 percent from communications, 8 percent from consumer products and 23 percent from the industrial sector.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.