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Apple supplier stocks surge in Asia

Strong quarterly iPhone sales lift investor sentiment

Better-than-expected iPhone sales helped Apple beat analyst forecasts, cheering investors in the U.S. tech company's suppliers.   © AP

TOKYO -- Asian investors are snapping up shares of Apple suppliers on Wednesday, following the U.S. gadget maker's announcement of stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings overnight.

Nitto Denko, a maker of polarizing plates used in smartphone display panels, was up just over 5% in morning trade, at 8,650 yen in Tokyo. Alps Electric, which makes image stabilizers for smartphone cameras, was up 5.7% at one point to 2,609 yen.

Other parts suppliers, such as Rohm and Japan Aviation Electronics Industry also traded higher. Their strong performance bucked the trend on the benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which was off 0.3% during the morning session.

Apple suppliers also did well on other East Asian markets. In Seoul, the share price of circuit board designer Interflex was 15.9% higher, at 22,200 won. In Taipei, camera lens manufacturer Largan Precision was up 6.9% at one point and smartphone body manufacturer Catcher Technology was also 3.9% higher.

Apple announced sales of $61.1 billion for the quarter ending in March on Tuesday, up from $52.9 billion in the same period the previous year and just beating analyst forecasts. The company sold 52.2 million iPhones, slightly less than the consensus forecast for 52.3 million. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X was the most popular iPhone model every week in the March quarter.

The result gave a temporary boost to shares of Apple suppliers, which have been under pressure recently due to rumors of shrinking demand for the iPhone X. The strength of the rebound on Wednesday reflected that sentiment.

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