Apple's share price fell after a morning of early gains following the death of their iconic former chief executive.
In a move away from an initial vote of confidence for Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Apple's shares fell after a brief rebound on Thursday morning. Apple's share price had been beating the stock market after rising from a lower opening, but it erased those gains and was trading at $377.10 per share as of 12:55 p.m. -- a 0.31 percent decline from Wednesday's close.
Direct competitors Microsoft and Google outperformed Apple early on Thursday. Personal computer maker Microsoft saw its shares jump 1.70 percent to $26.33 per share; it was the only direct competitor to outperform Apple in morning trading. Google, a direct competitor in the smartphone market, saw its shares rise 1.19 percent to $510.73 per share.
Other competitors only modestly outperformed Apple. Dell's shares rose just 0.26 percent to $15.42 per share. In the realm of mobile devices, Motorola Mobility shares rose 0.53 percent to $37.95 per share, and Amazon's shares rose 0.32 percent to $220.20 per share.
Steve Jobs, who as head of Apple popularized the personal computer and reshaped the cellular and music industries, was largely responsible for turning Apple into the most valuable company in the world.
Still, whether Apple's primacy in the technology industry could now falter remains a subject of debate. The death of Jobs has raised questions about whether Apple can continue releasing transformational products at its usual breakneck pace, according to Reuters.
On Thursday, Apple's stockholders revealed unease but not panic. Their stance appeared similar to that taken in August after Steve Jobs announced that he was stepping down as chief executive and would be replaced by Apple's Tim Cook. Apple's shares fell less than one percent on the day after the announcement, and they outperformed the stock market as a whole, according to Reuters.
Jobs had been forced to step back from his duties on multiple occasions due to multiple health problems. In 2009 he was on medical leave for five months and underwent a liver transplant, handing over the reins to Apple to his chief operating officer, Tim Cook. He took a month off in 2004 after undergoing surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer.
Apple stakeholders and observers have expressed confidence in Tim Cook and other upper-level executives. Fortune Magazine recently described Cook as "the genius behind Steve."
Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, wrote of Cook after Jobs stepped down: "Cook is capable of running Apple, but his rare combination of extreme humility and insatiable motivation make him uniquely suited to continue Jobs's work as CEO and carry on his vision with a peerless executive team."