Apple shares close down slightly after Steve Jobs' death
The stock reversed direction numerous times and spent much of the morning well into positive territory. After a steep drop at midday, investors pulled the stock back up to close down 0.2%, or 88 cents, at $377.37.
Given the outsized role that Jobs played at Apple and the dramatic public response to his death, the movement of the stock was relatively muted, trading in a range of $372 to $385.
Investors had already had time to acclimate to Jobs' absence from the company. He went on extended medical leave earlier this year and stepped down from his job atop Apple in August, handing the reins to Tim Cook. But Jobs had stayed on as chairman and was expected to remain involved in the company's work.
Analysts have spent the day discussing what Jobs' absence from the company will mean and whether Cook will be able to keep cultivating Apple's success.
Jobs turned Apple into the second-most-valuable U.S. publicly traded company, after Exxon Mobil Corp. The Cupertino, Calif., tech company briefly took the top spot last summer.
At just under $380 a share, the stock is priced at 13.6 times analysts’ mean earnings estimate of $27.79 a share for the fiscal year that just ended. Some of Apple’s investors consider the stock undervalued at that price-to-earnings ratio, given the company’s growth prospects.
The stock is up 17% year to date, though down 8.7% from the record closing high of $413.45 on Sept. 20.
-- Nathaniel Popper in New York and Tom Petruno in Los Angeles
Photo:The Apple logo is illuminated at the entrance to an Apple Store in New York City. Credit: Daniel Barry / Getty Images