According to Forbes, Apple shares traded fell by 6.4 percent in Frankfurt this morning, hours after CEO Steve Jobs announced he will be taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. US stock markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday today, but it’s likely we’ll see a similar pattern tomorrow morning.
Jobs has had significant health problems in the past. In 2003 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which he survived, and in 2009 he underwent a liver transplant. And every time Jobs has faced a health scare, so has Apple’s stock. As the incredibly public face of the company, his wellbeing has seemingly become tied to Apple’s success. Each time Jobs has announced a medical leave, the market has reacted accordingly: Last time this happened, we saw Apple shares dive over 6 percent.
“Honestly, the effect on the company will probably not be that great in terms of fundamentals,” global technology specialist Richard Windsor at Nomura told Reuters. “Perception of the company is another matter. Steve Jobs is seen by the market to be a major force in Apple’s strategic direction. If his pancreatic cancer has returned, one could be quite worried.”
Jobs announced that day-to-day operations would continue under chief operating office Tim Cook, and that he would oversee larger decisions. Apple is loosely scheduled for a few notable events in the coming weeks and months. Late January is believed to be the long-coming and frequently-rescheduled announcement of The Daily, we’ve heard the iPad 2 is due this spring, and summer should bring us the next generation iPhone. Jobs is a constant presence at these types of press events, and his absence could cause a temporary hitch in Apple investments.