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Apple can't outrun China worries, stock drops into bear territory

Via MSN Money

Apple shares fell by nearly 6 percent during Friday trading, sending the stock into bear territory for the first time in years as investors fret over the impact of China's apparent economic slowdown.

Apple closed this week at $105.76, off more than 20 percent from its 52-week high of $134.54. Such a decline is considered by many investors as a benchmark for "bear" status.

The slump has wiped nearly $160 billion off of Apple's market capitalization, and the reasoning behind the selloff isn't immediately clear — though recent bad news from China, including a string of surprising currency devaluations, maybe be partly to blame.

"China selling off, or China hitting an air pocket - that's a real thing," FirstHand Capital Management CIO Kevin Landis told CNBC. "Ask anyone who's ever been there, there is this sort of recklessness that really is sobering, and you figure, they're going to drive into a ditch periodically. It looks like that's what's happening again right now."

"Apple has a lot of exposure there, and they've pinned a lot of their growth to that market and they're going to have to pull those expectations down a bit," Landis added.

China has arguably become Apple's second most important market after the U.S., responsible for tens of millions of iPhone sales in a given quarter and a country in which the company is making significant investments. Current plans call for Apple to open more than 30 retail stores in China by the end of next year, and any economic downturn is likely to disrupt the still-emerging middle class that Apple's Chinese growth depends on.