Apple Inc. shares fell as much as 2.2 percent in early U.S. trading after co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs died.
The stock fell as much as $8.25 to $370 in trading before U.S. exchanges opened, after closing at $378.25 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Apple, which has the biggest weighting among any stock in the Nasdaq-100 Index at 15 percent, was halted after the announcement about Jobs’s death yesterday.
Jobs, who resigned as CEO on Aug. 24, passed away at 56 yesterday, Cupertino, California-based Apple said. He was diagnosed in 2003 with a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare form of pancreatic cancer, and had a liver transplant in 2009.
“The drop this morning is a shock reaction,” said Andreas Lipkow, an equity trader at MWB Fairtrade Wertpapierhandelsbank AG in Frankfurt. “In his position as a visionary I think he organized things and I think the new CEO will run things really well.”
The announcement of Jobs’s passing came one day after CEO Tim Cook took the stage to introduce a new iPhone, marking his first product unveiling since taking the reins. To maintain Apple’s growth, he will have to push into more new markets, continue the company’s Asian expansion and execute a shift to cloud computing.
Apple’s stock price has risen more than 9,000 percent since Jobs returned to the company in 1997. The shares have more than doubled in the past two years, while Microsoft Corp. has gained 5.1 percent and Intel Corp. has risen 14 percent. Hewlett- Packard Co. is down 48 percent.
The success of the iPhone has helped Apple’s stock weather market turmoil and the resignation of the CEO who made Apple the world’s most valuable company.
Investors have had mixed reactions since Jobs stepped down as CEO. The shares rose more than 7 percent in the month after he resigned, and have since slipped back to little changed. At the close of trading yesterday, Apple was valued at $351 billion.
“Apple’s business model will continue, but Steve Jobs was the cleverest product innovator and most precise brand creator in history,” said Daniel Weston, a portfolio adviser at Schroeder Equities GmbH in Munich. “Someone like that will not be replaced in our lifetimes.”
Shares of Asian and European rivals climbed. Samsung Electronics Co. climbed 1.5 percent in Seoul. LG Electronics Inc. gained 6.3 percent. Nokia Oyj added 1.8 percent on the Helsinki exchange.
“People see now that Steve Jobs is not coming back and there is a risk of innovation declining, because he created the innovative products that created the fantastic brand,” said Helena Nordman-Knutson, a Stockholm-based technology analyst with Oehman.
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