Apple Stems Loss After £104bn Is Wiped

Apple Stems Loss After £104bn Is Wiped

Despite Apple seeing a sharp drop in shares over the past few weeks, a small hike at the beginning of the trading day has given new hope for the tech firm.

The company's shares were up 5% in early trading at \$543.94 (£340), but that is a sharp contrast to the peak of just over \$702 (£441) in mid-September.

Its shares have been falling for eight weeks, as Apple's iPhone and iPad face increasing competition from the likes of Samsung and Amazon.

The sharp drop in stock has wiped more than \$165bn (£104bn) from the company's total market value.

Although Apple has launched five major soft and hardware products in 2012, its share price is now below that in April.

Three launches since September, including the iPad mini, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, have failed to turn around its fortunes.

Some analysts argue that the recent falls in Apple‘s stock price are in part being driven by the looming 'fiscal cliff' in the United States.

Selling the shares now arguably locks in gains and offsets the possibility of higher taxes next year.

US investors who have ridden the Apple stock in its surge over the past couple of years face a 15% tax bill if they sell now and a possible 35% one if they do in January.

Last week's close price of \$527 (£331) highlighted the downward sentiment among investors selling the stock amid fears that the fiscal cliff will result in a sharp increase in the tax rate on dividends, thus making stocks with high dividend yields far less attractive.

Walter Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management said: "Some of the selling is being driven by these tax decisions, but the flip side is there is not a lot of buyers because the buyers are procrastinating to see how the negotiations come out."

But another analyst claims Apple shares have grown by 82% a year for the last eight years and should continue to grow at a substantial rate for the next few years despite increased competition.

Rik Takrar, risk manager and senior dealer at Spread Co, said: "Rumours are circulating that the decline in the stock has something to do with an unusual situation involving hedge funds more than any other attributing factor.

"Throughout November, the Spread Co dealing floor has noted significant numbers of clients have closed out their positions in Apple stock, but in spite of this the majority are still long."

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