Weak mobile phone sales have pushed Nokia (NYSE: NOK) down 13.3% to $4.37 a share – the lowest level for the tech stock in 15 years.
The weak sales aren’t official yet. But the company warned investors this morning that it expects mobile-phone sales in the first quarter to be weaker than some experts had anticipated. We won’t know for sure until the tech stock announces its earnings on April 21.
Nevertheless, Nokia’s cryptic warning was enough to send its stock plummeting to 20th-century levels. While stocks have been on the rise for most of the year, Nokia has been going the other direction, falling 9.3% in 2012.
Fierce competition in the smartphone market has been the main culprit behind Nokia’s decline. Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android and Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone have been flying off the shelves, making life difficult for Nokia’s recently-launched Lumia 900 smartphone. The Lumia has been well reviewed but is more expensive than both the aforementioned devices.
Nokia wasn’t profitable in 2011, losing more than $1.9 million in net income. Now the company is forecasting a 3% drop-off in its first-quarter smartphone sales.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which partnered with Nokia to lend its Windows platform to the Lumia, is down only slightly in mid-day trading.