Shares of Apple Inc. were down 3% in midday trading Tuesday after the company announced over the weekend that CEO Steve Jobs will take an indefinite medical leave. The stock opened the trading day down 5% but quickly recovered some of those losses.
The markets were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
The drop occurred as U.S. stocks were doing fairly well on Tuesday. At midday the Dow was up 0.49% and the Nasdaq was down just 0.04%.
A 5% drop puts only a small dent in the enthusiasm investors have had for Apple lately. The stock’s 52-week low was $190.25 on January 29, 2010. Even so, at midday about $9.1 billion had been shaved from Apple’s market cap. The stock will get its chance to rally later today as Apple will announce its latest earnings after the close of the trading day.
Some analysts expressed confidence in Cook and Apple’s overall strategy. “Mr. Jobs’ health wellness profile may not be what investors prefer, but we point out that Apple’s strategic initiatives have not been derailed by past medical leaves,” wrote JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz in a research note. “We believe Apple is in capable hands,” wrote Barclay’s analyst Ben Reitzes.