New York: The stock of Apple the world's most valuable company has now fallen more than 20 per cent - $130 billion of its market value -
from its all-time high of $705.07 that it hit on September 21. That was the day the latest iPhone went on sale.
The sell-off comes as Apple readies other new products for sale, including the iPad Mini. The Cupertino, California, company warned late last month that the costs of making new gadgets would cut into profit in its holiday quarter.
Apple still has the world's heftiest market capitalisation at $548 billion. Oil giant Exxon Mobil is next, at nearly $418 billion. Apple shares are down 3.5 per cent to $559.86 in midday trading Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index is down 2.6 per cent.
Apple's slide outpaced the S&P 500's drop of about 2.4 per cent the day after the US election, putting the world's most valuable technology company into bearish territory.
Apple's share price drop since September comes on the heels of torrid growth since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, which upended the PC industry and carved out a new device segment.
But many investors question whether it can keep innovating and keep ahead of ever-more aggressive competition under new CEO Tim Cook and his chief lieutenants, installed after the death of its chief visionary and co-founder Steve Jobs last year.
In the near term, Apple is having trouble meeting robust demand for the iPhone 5. Chairman Terry Gou of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's main contract manufacturer, said on Wednesday the company was "falling short of meeting the huge demand" for the phone.
Last month, Apple said it expects its industry-leading margins to shrink this quarter as new products - particularly the iPhone 5 that accounts for about half its revenue - have become more expensive to build.
Beyond supply and management issues, analysts also remain leary of competition as rivals pile into the tablet market, setting up a holiday-season showdown of unprecedented scale.
Samsung, Google and Amazon are now challenging its supremacy in smartphones and tablets. Microsoft's Surface, launched in October, marks the first time the software giant is gunning for Apple on hardware, its forte.
Apple's tablet market share slid to 50 per cent during the third quarter, while Samsung more than doubled its share to 18.4 per cent, according to research firm IDC. In light of the uncertainty, fund managers say investors may stop using Apple as a safe haven to park cash in a volatile market.
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