Apple stock opens lower, but not plummeting

The company's shares are down less than 2 percent in their first open following Steve Jobs' decision to step down as CEO of Apple.

In the first day of trading following Steve Jobs' decision to step down as CEO of Apple, his company's stock is hardly feeling the effects.

As of this writing, Apple's shares are hovering at around $369.04, down 1.9 percent from yesterday's closing price of $376.18.

Steve Jobs announced his decision to step down as Apple's CEO last night . In a letter to Apple's board of directors and the public, Jobs said that he could no longer perform his duties as CEO, and recommended that he take over as chairman and his chief operating officer, Tim Cook, assume the role of CEO.

"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," Jobs wrote in a letter published last night . "Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple."

The board approved Jobs' recommendations.

Related stories:
• Steve Jobs resigns from Apple (roundup)
• Steve Jobs steps down from Apple
• Text of resignation letter from Steve Jobs

Following the move, reactions were mixed on Wall Street. In the minutes following his announcement, Apple's shares were down about 5 percent in after-hours trading. However, this morning, in premarket trading, the stock started to inch back up from its depths.

The relatively small impact on Apple's shares seems to underscore the feelings investors had towards the company prior to the resignation. Since January, Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, has been on a medical leave of absence , and left day-to-day operations in the hands of Cook. During that period, the company has been operating without any hiccups, ostensibly allaying some investor fears that only Jobs could run Apple. And as one fund manager noted to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Jobs' resignation "was a 'when' not 'if' moment" for investors, underscoring their anticipation of Jobs stepping down.

Analysts also seem confident in Apple's shares. Speaking to CNET sister site ZDNet in a story published today , a host of analysts said that Apple will have a strong leader in Cook, and investors shouldn't be concerned.

"We believe Cook is a highly capable executive and deeply familiar with Apples' business plans, product roadmaps and operations," Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore told ZDNet. "He has also acted as interim CEO on previous occasions and we see very little near-term execution risk."

Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty offered up a similar sentiment: "We view Apple's announced CEO transition as well timed given upcoming new product launches and accelerating market share gains in key markets. Importantly, we remain highly confident in our near-term EPS estimates and rank Apple as best positioned to see upward earnings revisions within our coverage universe."

 

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