During an earnings call last May, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told investors he wasn’t worried about President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. The world’s two superpowers were too intertwined, Cook argued, for either one to try to seriously damage the other. “China only wins if the U.S. wins, and the U.S. only wins if China wins,” he said. “And the world only wins if China and the U.S. win.”
Just after the market closed on Jan. 2, Cook had a different message. For the first time in 15 years, Apple Inc. cut its revenue projections. The CEO explained that the Trump administration’s trade policies had hurt demand for iPhones in China. The following day, Apple lost 10 percent of its market value. Its decline fueled a broader sell-off among investors already spooked by the sudden possibility that the once-inexorable march of globalization could be reversed.