The dueling narratives of Apple and Nike's fourth quarters — driven largely by their success (or not) in China — highlight how the world's second-largest economy can impact some of the world's most influential companies.
The bottom line: Apple is a big company on an absolute level, but it's a tiny part of the Chinese economy, where consumers are just as fickle as they are anywhere else. What we learned this week is that Apple looms unrealistically large in investors' imaginations. China can help deliver spectacular growth, but that growth will always be bumpy, especially for foreigners. Investors shouldn't be surprised when it is.