UPDATE, 1:25 PM: Apple ended the day at $485.92, -3.2% — the stock’s lowest closing price since February 8, 2012. The performance stood in contrast to the slight rise in both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500. Investor concerns about how much and how quickly Apple can grow are sure to weigh on CEO Tim Cook as he prepares to talk with analysts on January 23, when the company releases its earnings for the last three months of 2012.
PREVIOUS, 8:13 AM: It’s just a number with two zeros. But it would be a vivid indication of how much investor enthusiasm for the iconic tech company has diminished since shares hit a 52-week high of $705.07 in September — the day it released its iPhone 5.Apple shares are already down 2.8% from yesterday’s closing price of $501.75, selling for prices investors haven’t seen since last February. This morning Nomura Securities reduced its price target to $530 from $660. Apple came close to dipping below $500 in December, but rebounded. Many investors continued to sour on Apple following reports that iPhone 5 sales are falling short of expectations, leading the company to cut production orders. Some analysts also fear that Apple will report disappointing demand for iPads as rivals flood store shelves with less expensive tablets. Google’s Android operating system seemed ascendant at last week’s International CES in Las Vegas. It was ubiquitous reflecting “a pervasive sense that Android is the infotainment platform for new consumer electronics beyond phones and tablets,” Barclays Equity Research’s Anthony DiClemente says.