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Disappointing January sales send Catcher shares lower

2019/02/13 13:15:00

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Disappointing sales in January sent shares in metal casing maker Catcher Technology Co., a supplier to Apple Inc., lower Wednesday, and selling spread to other "Apple concept stocks," dealers said.

As of 12:23 p.m., shares in Catcher had lost 3.27 percent at NT$237.00 (US$7.69) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where the weighted index fell 0.10 percent at 10,087.24.

Among other Apple suppliers, shares in Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera lens supplier, had lost 0.65 percent at NT$228.50, and shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., a processor provider for iPhones, dropped 0.50 percent to NT$3,980.00.

Dealers said the downturn in Apple suppliers pushed the broader market down, having gained in the previous two trading sessions to stay above the 10,000 point mark.

Soon after the local equity market opened, Catcher shares came under heavy downward pressure as investors took their cue from the manufacturer's poor sales data for January and that weakness continued, dealers said.

In a statement released Tuesday, Catcher said it posted NT$4.91 billion in consolidated sales in January, down 26.7 percent from a month earlier and down 40 percent from the previous year.

Data compiled by Catcher showed the January figure was the lowest since February 2017, when sales stood at NT$4.74 billion.

Catcher said the decline largely reflected weakening global demand for smartphones, which presented more evidence as to the disappointing sales of the latest iPhones unveiled in September 2018.

In addition, an ongoing shortage of central processing units used in notebook computers also affected shipments of Catcher's metal casings during the month, the company said.

The company said the January sales came after it entered the traditional slow season for the global consumer electronics industry in the first quarter of the year.

Catcher said sales for February could fall further, reflecting the reduced number of working days after the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday during the month, but added it is confident sales for March will bounce back.

Before the release of the January sales data, an Asian brokerage downgraded its rating on Catcher shares from "neutral" to "underperform" and cut its target price from NT$300 to NT$150.

The brokerage said it expects Catcher to feel the pinch of the weaker global smartphone market throughout 2019.

CNA cannot identify the brokerage because media outlets in Taiwan are not allowed to report the names of foreign brokerages when they give price-moving forecasts for specific stocks or the wider market.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Frances Huang)