The day after Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from the company, the stock fell 2.16 percent to $340.95. Jobs’ health concerns are not news to investors. Over the years, anyone watching the stock has learned that announcements regarding his health create dips in AAPL's price just as much as widespread speculation about his health does. Let's take a look at the history of AAPL's stock price through the years, both during announced and rumored health crises and then see how it fared at the close of each of those years.
It all began on August 2nd, 2004, when it was announced that Jobs was about to take a month off to recuperate from the removal of a malignant tumor on his pancreas. AAPL closed at $32.34 on July 30th, the trading day before the announcement, and by August 6th its closing price had fallen to $29.78. The stock then found its footing and rose to $64.40 by December 31st.
In 2006 Jobs gave the keynote address during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. While this appearance might have served to allay fears about his continuing health struggles, Jobs’ “lackluster” appearance during the address simply set the web abuzz with rumors of his failing health. So AAPL, which closed at $68.30 on August 4th 2006—the last trading day before the keynote address was delivered—fell to $63.59 on August 9th. But AAPL more than recovered and closed out 2006 at $84.84.
In 2008, AAPL announced that, for the first time in over a decade, Jobs would not be delivering the keynote address at the Worldwide Developer's Conference. As you might expect, rumors of his ailing health once again permeated the web and AAPL fell from $95.43 (its closing price on December 16th, before the announcement) to $89.16. Because this announcement was so close to year end, 2008 is the only year that did not show a marked improvement in AAPL's stock price following a dip resulting from a Jobs' health "scare." It closed out the year at $85.35.
The leave of absence Jobs is currently taking is not his first. In January of 2009 he announced that he’d be taking a 6-month leave of absence, and in June 2009 it was revealed that he’d had a liver transplant during that leave. The leave was announced on January 14th and the stock had a closing price of $85.33. By January 20th it had fallen to $78.20. The closing price December 31st was $210.73.
While any announcement—or even rumor—about Steve Jobs’ health seems to cause a temporary dip in AAPLs stock price, it hasn't seemed to leave a lasting effect on the stock. Only time will tell whether or not that is because Jobs bounced back from every medical setback to date.
*Prices and charts courtesy of Yahoo Finance.