AAPL takes a hit overseas
U.S. markets were closed on Monday in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. But AAPL stock was still traded in Europe, where the news of Jobs' leave of absence had a significant impact.
At one point on Monday, Apple stock was down nearly 10 percent in Frankfurt, Germany, for European trading. It closed the day down 6.2 percent, to finish at 244.05.
U.S. markets, including the NASDAQ, where AAPL is traded, will open at their regular time of 9:30 a.m. eastern on Tuesday. It will likely be a busy day of trading for the company's stock, as Apple is also expected to report record sales in its quarterly earnings report after the market closes on Tuesday.
RBC Capital Markets
Analyst Mike Abramsky said he expects AAPL stock to be volatile in the near future, but also buoyed by the strong expected quarter for the start of fiscal 2011. He noted that Apple and Jobs' decision not to reveal the CEO's condition could "sustain uncertainty."
But he said investors may also focus on the fact that Jobs has twice already successfully returned from health absences. In addition, he believes Apple has a strong management team with Tim Cook as the operational leader.
He also noted that when Jobs last left in 2009, the stock dropped 3 percent, but over the next six months it rose 57 percent until Jobs returned in June. Abramsky said that Jobs is Apple's biggest asset, but also the company's biggest risk.
"It will be difficult to assess how the absence of Steve's drive, innovation and leadership -- and his high level of involvement -- may or may not have a negative impact in the longer term on Apple innovation and talent retention," he said. "After handwringing, street and media reaction are likely to assume the stance for now that Apple can cary on."
Analyst Gene Munster noted that, unlike Jobs' departure in 2009, he announced on Monday that he is not relinquishing his title as chief executive officer. That could be an indication, he said, that Jobs expects his leave of absence to be shorter and less serious than his previous departure.
"Recall that during Jobs' last medical leave (Jan-09 to Jun-09) Cook became interim CEO of Apple and the business continued to perform well," Munster wrote.
Piper Jaffray has retained its "overweight" rating for AAPL stock, as well as its 12-month price target of $438.