Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the age of 56, far too young for any man, especially such a visionary and sage as he. Jobs changed the way we all see the world, and spent his life trying to inspire others to go their own way like he did. His creative genius was the driving force in making Apple (AAPL), once a struggling personal computer business, at various points the largest company by market cap in the world.
Jobs’ death is an upsetting tragedy and a great loss for American society. Reluctantly, as market commentators, we must discuss the future of Apple’s stock without its prescient leader. The last time Jobs was in the headlines was August 24th, when he made the surprise announcement that due to his deteriorating health he would be stepping down from his CEO post.
Upon that announcement, the stock, naturally, took a nose dive overnight. At the time we noted a buying opportunity in AAPL, a stock that remains very fundamentally undervalued. It has felt like the uncertainty over Steve Jobs’ health has been a dark cloud hanging over the stock, and, sadly, with him leaving his post some of that anxiety left the trade. Now, upon his passing, there is no uncertainty about his role with the going forward.
The focus, it would seem, will shift more centrally to the company’s earnings and products. While the iPhone 4S announcement was seen as disappointing by many who expected a sleek, newly designed iPhone 5, it is a powerful upgrade over the iPhone 4 that will continue to raise the bar in the smartphone market.
The stock opened only about 1% lower this morning, evidence that Jobs has left AAPL in a strong position, and his passing is no longer seen as a death knell for the company. AAPL surged quickly in the morning to erase the gap, but has since come off a bit as the market has weakened. Do not expect Jobs’ passing to have a significant impact on the stock price, as it seems his exit was already fully priced in. If anything, expect any remaining clouds to part, and for AAPL to continue its ascent (if the market cooperates).
*Disclosures: Scott Redler has no positions