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Apple slips below $600 in first trading day after exec shake-up

The company's shares, which have edged down since late September, continue to fall as market digests word that two top executives are on their way out.

Apple's Scott Forstall is one of two top executives leaving the company.
Apple's Scott Forstall is one of two top executives leaving the company. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Last updated at 2 p.m. PT

Apple's stock has entered territory it hasn't been in for quite some time.

The stock finished at $595.32, down $8.68, or 1.44 percent today. At one point earlier in the day Apple's shares fell as low as $587.70.

Apple's stock hasn't closed a day below the $600 mark since July. For a brief period on Friday, Apple's shares dropped to $591 before closing the day at $604.

Might today's decline be attributable to Apple's announcement Monday of the departure of two senior executives -- Scott Forstall and John Browett? Maybe, maybe not. Since September 21 when Apple's shares closed the day at $700.71, the company's stock has been on the decline. In addition, today's decline seems to fall in line with previous single-day drops. So, it's possible the drop is as much a part of a negative trend as it is a reaction to the executive departures.

Still, Apple may have been concerned about Wall Street's reaction to the news about Forstall and Browett, which came while trading was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. Companies often announce bad news in the stock markets' off-hours, to give shareholders a bit more time to let issues marinate.

The loss of Forstall could worry investors who see him as a key ingredient in the development of Apple's iOS platform. According to reports, he was ousted because of his unwillingness to sign a letter apologizing for problems with Apple's Maps application. Apple's ousted retail chief John Browett was let go for unrelated reasons.

For its part, Apple has tried to allay fears, saying that its current executive team, including Jonathan Ive and Eddy Cue, will pick up the slack.

Over the last year, Apple's share price has swung widely from $363.32 to $705.07. As of this writing, the company's market capitalization -- a measure of corporate value -- is about $557 billion.

Update at 9:45 a.m. PT, at 12:10 p.m. PT, and at 2 p.m. PT: New and closing stock prices noted.