Apple Stock Falls After Jobs Announcement

Apple’s stock is getting hit hard in after-hours trading following the announcement that CEO Steve Jobs has resigned.

Steve Jobs at D8 | Photo by Asa Mathat

Jobs, who will become chairman, is handing over the day-to-day operations to former COO Tim Cook, who has deftly operated the company in Jobs’s absence before.

Still, investors are clearly uneasy with the top-level change, even though it has been a possibility for some time.

At one point, shares traded down $20.19, or 5.37 percent, to $355.99. That translates roughly to $18.5 billion in market value.

Investors, who recently pushed Apple shares high enough for the phone and computer-maker to overtake Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company, obviously places overwhelming value on Jobs.

The stock had recently been trading higher on the expectation that the iPhone 5 would launch in October.

This is not the first time that Jobs’s sudden departure has shaken investors’ nerves.

Back in January 2009, shares dropped as much as 10 percent, or roughly $6 billion in market value, when the news broke that the CEO was taking a medical leave of absence.

At the time, AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski called investors wusses. “Yes, Jobs’s sensibility pervades Apple’s culture and its products, but that culture and those products are not tethered to his health or day-to-day presence at the company. And Apple’s deep executive bench is more than capable of running it — and running it well — in his absence. … Apple will endure — with or without Steve Jobs.”

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