Steve Jobs Resigns: Is It Time to Sell Apple Stock, or Buy?

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Following Steve Jobs' announcement late Wednesday that he was resigning as CEO of Apple (AAPL), the company's stock dropped 5% during after-hours trading before recovering more than half its losses. But while some investors are selling, others are saying a small drop in prices could mean a great time to buy Apple shares. As of Thursday morning, shares are hovering around $370.

"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 statement. "Unfortunately, that day has come."

In the wake of his announcement, analysts are divided as to what will happen to Apple shares in the long run. Jobs was Apple's global face, and the visionary who guided the company from its startup days in his family garage to its current position as the world's second most valuable public company, just behind Exxon Mobil (XOM).

Barclays' (BCS) equity research team expressed their confidence in an Apple without Jobs. "While the stock could see some immediate headline pressure, we expect sentiment to rebound through next year with strong execution and new product cycles," they wrote in a statement.

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Barclays was also optimistic about newly appointed CEO Tim Cook. "Cook is a proven executive who can handle the pressure and knows how to run the inner workings of Apple," they wrote. The team gives credit to Cook for important but under-the-radar elements of Apple's success, such as negotiating product margins and streamlining the company's supply chain.

Others are not so confident. Kevin Hunt, managing director at Aearo USA, says that the long-term effect of Jobs' resignation on Apple shares is "a clear negative."

Cook is a good operations manager, not a visionary like Jobs, Hunt suggests. "Jobs had an abnormally high impact on product design and direction. A lot of the company's success came from his substantial involvement in even minor decisions," Hunt says. "It's impossible to predict if they'll be as successful at revolutionary products as before."

"Without Jobs, Apple is just another company," he says.

With or without Jobs, Apple is expected to release a new iPhone this fall, as well as the next iPad in 2012. Some are concerned that Jobs' resignation could delay these products' arrival.

Jobs, who has suffered from pancreatic cancer, has been on a medical leave of absence since January, with Cook handling the CEO responsibilities. Jobs will be staying on with the company as chairman of the board of directors.





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