When Steve Jobs announced his resignation on Wednesday afternoon, Apple shares promptly dropped approximately five percent. In the greater scheme of things, and comparative to prior absences, five percent is not a large drop.
Steve Jobs is seen as a vital component of the Apple brand, so his resignation as CEO could have caused a much greater price drop. This relatively small selloff can be attributed to the fact that while the exact date of Jobs’ departure was a shock, everyone knew that it was coming.
The world has watched as Jobs’ health has slowly declined since his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2003. A series of photos taken over the years shows his transition, from overweight to seriously gaunt, as treatments for pancreatic cancer and then a liver transplant took their toll.
Shareholders were well aware that Jobs has been on medical leave since January, and that he has suffered from continuous health issues as he’s taken two previous breaks from Apple, once in 2004 after surgery to remove the cancer, and again in 2009 for the transplant.
How did Apple stock fare then? Well, quite a bit worse. Here’s a rundown:
- August 2004 (Pancreatic cancer) – Price declines 6%
- June 2008 (Jobs looks sickly at Apple’s dev conference) – Price declines 21%
- January 2009 (Liver transplant) – Price declines 15.9%
- January 2009 (Medical LoA) – Price declines 5%
Every health announcement has created uncertainty among shareholders, but Apple continually recovers and share prices remain exceedingly high.
“Don’t panic, remain calm,” advises Colin Gillis, BGC Partners Analyst. “This is not unexpected. He clearly has some major health issues going on. Deteriorating or not deteriorating, chairman is the perfect role for him to continue providing artistic input.”