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Last updated: February 19. 2013 9:05PM - 117 Views

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SAN FRANCISCO ‚?? This holiday season is shaping up to be a record-breaking period for Apple as shoppers snap up iPhones and iPads. So, why is the world‚??s most valuable company losing its luster with investors?


Apple began selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, the same day the company‚??s stock hit an all-time peak of $705.07 per share. Since then, the stock has plunged nearly 25 percent, trimming the company‚??s market value by more than $150 billion. On Friday, the stock fell almost 3 percent and closed at $533.25.


The sell-off has had broad impact. It has reached beyond Apple‚??s own stockholders because the company is the largest component in the Standard & Poor‚??s 500 and Nasdaq composite index ‚?? two benchmarks that are tracked by widely held mutual funds and exchange traded funds, or ETFs.


Apple comprises 4 percent of the S&P 500 and nearly 12 percent of the Nasdaq, according to FactSet. The Nasdaq has shed 6 percent since Apple‚??s stock price peaked while the S&P 500 has declined 3 percent, the same as the Dow Jones industrial average, which doesn‚??t include Apple in its basket of 30 stocks.


Apple‚??s abrupt descent is fueling a debate among market-watchers. Is the stock now a bargain, as some would argue? Or, is the recent markdown in Apple‚??s value justified because the company has entered a phase of less innovation and slower revenue growth?


Disagreements over the issue are contributing to unusual volatility in the stock. On Wednesday, Apple‚??s stock fell 6.4 percent, the biggest one-day drop in more than four years. Just two-and-half weeks ago, the stock surged 7.2 percent for its biggest one-day gain in three years.


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