Apple’s stock had one of its worst days in four years on Wednesday, despite no news coming from Apple about the company’s financial situation or products. Apple lost $35 billion from its market cap — its largest decline since December 2008 — when its stock dropped 6.43 percent to close at $538.79. Granted, most companies would be pretty happy with a stock price that high. And Apple’s stock is still up more than 40 percent over the last year. But there has been a troubling, three-month long dip in Apple share prices, from its peak of over $700 in mid-September.
There are a variety of factors that have caused the stock to dip and rise since September, but Wednesday was particularly odd because there wasn’t any obvious thing that should be spooking Wall Street. Here are some financial analysts’ best guesses as to what’s afoot:
- Oracle Investment Research tells Barron’s it’s possibly related to firms imposing higher margin requirements on clients.
- Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray wonders if perhaps there’s some misinterpretation regarding expectations for the iPad going into 2013.
- There’s also speculation that Nokia landing a distribution deal with China Mobile could be a setback to the iPhone.
- Another theory: Investors may be unhappy that it’s looking less likely that Apple will be issuing a “special dividend” payout before the end of the year.
Apple has set itself up to have a monster sales quarter thanks to the way the company has timed its new product releases this fall. Will investors be assuaged come January earnings time? Maybe, maybe not. It seems like one of the biggest questions investors have isn’t about the current quarter, but what comes after: whether Apple has another “next big thing” in it, and what that will be.