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Apple shares slide in wake of Steve Jobs departure
But longer term, shareholders are upbeat about the prospects for the technology giant.
Shares in Apple fell on Thursday after the technology giant’s iconic leader, Steve Jobs, resigned as chief executive, saying ‘the day has come’ for him to step down.
Apple shares lost $5.38, or 1.43%, to $370.80 in early US trading, underperforming the tech heavy Nasdaq stock index, which eased 0.52% to 2,455. The stock has risen 6,579% since Jobs returned to Apple as chief executive in 1997.
Jobs, who created a slew of innovative products, transforming the habits of generations, has battled several illnesses in recent years.
‘I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,’ he said in a letter to Apple’s board of directors. ‘Unfortunately, that day has come.’
The losses in Apple shares came as Wall Street wobbled, following weak unemployment data and as financial stocks advanced on an infusion of $5 billion in Bank of America by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Jobs, who battled and survived a rare form of pancreatic cancer, reshaped consumer technology with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Apple’s board appointed long-time lieutenant Tim Cook to replace him on Jobs’ recommendation.
The former chief executive will hold the new position of board chairman of the company, of which he is seen as the heart and soul. Up to this point, two board members had previously served as co-lead directors.
‘There’s no doubt the influence of Jobs has been hugely important in making Apple the company it is today,’ said Stuart O’Gorman and Ian Warmerdam, fund managers at Henderson Global Investors, an Apple shareholder, in a statement.
But they continued, ‘We believe Apple will continue its onward march not least because the market has been well aware of Jobs health issues and there is certainly no “Jobs premium” built into Apple’s valuation.’
Henderson pointed out that by appointing the ‘hugely respected’ Cook as successor, Apple should avoid power struggles.
Mike Jeremy, analyst at Daniel Stewart, agreed that the technology giant was not ‘doomed’ in the wake of Jobs’ departure, pointing out that ‘the moment was inevitable.’
He said Jobs’ focus on personal computing as consumer electronics’ would remain, adding: ‘In an environment that has seen the recent rise of Google-Android, demise (ongoing) of Nokia, and questions hanging over Microsoft, Apple is far from fading.’
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