Currently, the technology sector's earnings are projected to decrease by 3.9 percent year-over-year, based on analysts' EPS estimates.
Factset’s John Butters removed Apple’s earnings from the tech sector, and came up with the chart where he compares tech sector EPS growth rates with Apple and without Apple.
Over the past six quarters, Apple has single-handedly controlled the tech sector's growth rate. Back in 2015, the tech sector would have been in the red every quarter without Apple. This influence is most pronounced back in Q1 of 2015, where earnings would have declined by 4 percent, but instead increased by 3 percent, thanks to Apple.
However, this trend is now hurting the tech sector. The aforementioned 3.9 percent expected decline turns into a 2.2 percent gain in the second quarter, once the market is strip out Apple earnings. Butters also notes that Apple's volatility is due to Apple's reliance on the iPhone for earnings, which has been seeing big declines this year.
Investors may not need to worry for long, though. Right now, Apple is on the "s" refresh of its iPhone upgrade cycle, and sales generally decline during this phase as the refresh generally doesn't have as many new features or as unique a design.
Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski is expecting sales to start growing again once the iPhone 7 goes on sale. If true, this should help push the tech sector’s earnings back up, especially if the former part of it keeps growing as well.