The timing of today's release is certainly interesting, to say the least. Today is Martin Luther King Day in the US so stock markets are closed. Tomorrow, Apple will release its fiscal 2011 first quarter earnings covering the holiday 2010 calendar quarter when Apple sold a lot of products.
Strong quarterly figures will lessen the negative impact of Jobs' sick leave and investors have the whole Monday to digest Apple's announcement. Meanwhile, the stock is already loosing some of its steam in Frankfurt trading where AAPL fell 6.2 percent to €244.05 (about $326.41) immediately following Apple's media advisory. Previously, multiplied effects of both strong gadget sales across the board and Verizon iPhone rumors helped catapult Apple's market cap north of $300 billion.
The initial stock market reaction won't be positive as investors ponder whether to hit the ejection handle. It's mid- and long-term effects on the company's valuation on Wall Street that are troubling. Both Apple and Jobs have a history of keeping a tight lid on his health status. Jobs himself said on several occasions that his health is his private matter, the notion most analysts certainly do not share.
APPL's rise was stopped Monday morning due to Martin Luther King Day. In after hours trading, though, the stock has already begun to see a drop.
The big question is what if Jobs never returns to Apple. And the issue troubling investors even more is what would Apple be like without its charismatic CEO and co-founder. Piper Jaffray's resident Apple analyst Gene Munster once estimated that the stock would loose at least one quarter of its value should Steve Jobs, a Silicon Valley and luminary, be forced to leave the company he co-founded for any reason.
If Munster's projections are true, than about $80 billion of Apple's current market cap will evaporate should Steve Jobs step down. But don't sell those AAPL shares yet - Munster says Apple's annual revenue could surpass $200 billion in a five years time, catapulting AAPL above the thousand dollar a share mark. There's also an uneasy but legitimate concern about the vision and direction in the post-Jobs era.
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