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Chipmakers' Rout Widens After TSMC Ignites Smartphone Fears

Apr. 21, 2018 – 

Asian technology stocks joined their peers in a global swoon after a disappointing sales outlook from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple Inc.'s main chip supplier, rekindled concerns that the smartphone industry's best days may be behind it.

TSMC fell 6 percent -- its biggest loss since July 2013 -- after predicting current-quarter sales about a billion dollars less than analysts had projected. It also reduced its forecast for semiconductor market growth, to 5 percent from a previous 5 to 7 percent. That followed a report by the International Monetary Fund this week saying smartphone shipments declined for the first time, a reminder that the industry may have peaked.

The Taiwanese company, an industry bellwether whose clients include Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp., triggered a selloff in chipmakers and tech stocks from Europe to Asia. As the main manufacturer of Apple's processors, its tepid revenue forecast also revived fears that the iPhone X may already be losing momentum a quarter after its release. Apple slid almost 3 percent.

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