Reports that iPhone 5 sales are weak hit Apple's stock. (Akio Kon / Bloomberg )
Reports suggesting sluggish demand for the latest iPhone spooked Apple investors and sent the company's stock sliding Monday.
When the markets opened Monday morning, the Apple's stock dropped $16.23, or 3.1%, to $504.07.
The latest news to shake the stock came Sunday night from the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Apple had significantly cut orders for various components for the iPhone 5, such as its screens, for the current quarter.
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Sources told the Journal the reason for the pullback was soft sales: "The move indicates that sales of the new iPhone haven't been as strong as previously anticipated and demand may be waning."
Reuters also reported a reduction in orders from Apple for screens: "Apple has asked Japan Display Inc., Sharp Corp. and South Korea's LG Display Co. to roughly halve supplies of LCD panels from an initial plan for about 65 million screens in January-March, the Japanese daily said, citing people familiar with the situation, adding the U.S. firm also cut orders for other iPhone components."
Apple's share of the smartphone market has been steadily slipping over the past year as its main rival, Samsung, has surged to become the world's leading seller of the gadgets. Indeed, on Monday, Samsung announced that it had sold 100 million units of its Galaxy S smartphone over the past three years, led by its popular Galaxy S II and S III versions.
Given the growing cloud over Apple's sales, its stock could be facing a rough couple of weeks until the company reports earnings Jan. 23, which should provide more definitive answers to questions about iPhone sales.
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