Apple faces regulatory heat, sheds $113 billion in market value

Investors rattled as regulators zoom in on Apple

By Ahmed Azzam | @3zzamous | 22 March 2024

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  • US lawsuit accuses iPhone maker of violating antitrust rules

  • Japan inflation rate rises to 3-month peak

Regulators from the United States and Europe are intensifying their focus on Apple Inc., stirring investor concerns about potential fines and threats to its market leadership. The tech giant is embroiled in legal challenges on both sides of the Atlantic, contributing to significant market value loss and concerns over its future.

US Legal Pressure: In America, Apple is under legal fire from the Justice Department and 16 state attorneys general for alleged antitrust violations.

European Probes: Europe's investigations center on Apple's adherence to the Digital Markets Act, scrutinizing the company's compliance with regional regulations.

Apple's shares plummeted by 4.1% on Thursday, erasing approximately $113 billion in market value. This downturn reverses its year-to-date gains, marking an 11% loss. Previously crowned as the world's most valuable company, Apple's valuation once exceeded $3 trillion. However, it has lagged behind the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 indices in 2024, reflecting investor unease.

This is not Apple's first encounter with regulatory scrutiny. The company and its tech counterparts have long been accused of anti-competitive practices. As Apple's products become increasingly indispensable worldwide, regulatory authorities are adopting a more assertive stance against its dominant market position.

Japan's inflation rate hits 3-month high

Japan's inflation rate accelerated to a 2.8% annual increase in February 2024, up from 2.2% the previous month. This surge marks the highest inflation rate since November. Core inflation, excluding volatile food prices, also peaked at 2.8% in February, a significant jump from January's 2.0%. These figures align with market expectations, continuously exceeding the Bank of Japan's 2% target for the 23rd consecutive month.

Analysts anticipate the Bank of Japan will adjust interest rates upward by October, with potential for a more rapid pace of increases given the yen's weakening.