By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Asia technology and telecommunications shares offered a mixed reaction Thursday after Apple Inc. unveiled the next version of its iPhone with great fanfare a day earlier.
The technology giant launched its iPhone 5 device at a packed event in San Francisco. The new design and features of the new iPhone did not generally surprise analysts, with its larger screen, thinner, lighter body, faster chip and high-speed network connectivity all flagged in advance by blog leaks. Read story on Apple's new iPhone.
“There’s no major surprise on iPhone 5 with most speculations turning out to be correct,” said Kevin Chang, analyst at Citigroup.
“However, Apple share price still went up 1.4% today, suggesting that people like the phone despite the lack of major surprise,” Chang said.
Apple shares ended Wednesday’s U.S. trading session higher after a late surge which some analysts also attributed to the firm outlining an aggressive plan to roll out its new phone to 240 wireless carriers in 100 countries by the end of the year.
Analysts at some brokerages are now penciling in between 45 million to 50 million iPhone shipments in the three months to the end of December, which would represent a jump of 35% from the year-ago period. Read more on aggressive launch.
Chang at Citi said that, given Apple’s plans to launch the iPhone 5 in over 30 countries before end-September, he believes that previous market concern about issues at panel suppliers “is mostly overdone.”
Japanese Apple component suppliers were broadly higher on Thursday, with TDK Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201622098/delayed TTDKY -1.20% /zigman2/quotes/208948266/delayed JP:6762 +1.06% up 2.5%, while Foster Electric Co. /zigman2/quotes/200731708/delayed JP:6794 -0.39% rose 4.5%.
Shares in Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF +3.24% /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +0.95% rose 1.4%, with the company having just started shipping the screens for the iPhone 5, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing a person with knowledge of the situation.
Mass production of the screens began earlier this week at Sharp’s factory in central Japan, according to the report. Read more on Sharp’s reported iPhone screen shipments.
Hon Hai to be big winner
iPhone manufacturer — as well as Sharp’s planned investment partner — Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. /zigman2/quotes/201773082/delayed HNHAY 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/207256514/delayed TW:2317 -1.19% , edged up 0.1% in Taiwan, to bring its quarter-to-date gains to almost 15%.
But despite the muted share move on Thursday, several analysts saw Hon Hai as a key beneficiary of the new iPhone.
Barclays analyst Kirk Yang said that “with the launch of iPhone 5 today by Apple, we reiterate our bullish view on Hon Hai.”
“As Hon Hai will start recognizing iPhone 5 sales/profits starting in September, we look for monthly sales, but more importantly operating margins, to improve in the third quarter and with a much larger bounce in the fourth quarter, as we believe the iPhone shipment consensus for the fourth quarter is simply too conservative.”