-- Q: Has Apple's aapl stock suffered at all following the announced departure of Steve Jobs as CEO?
A: It's far too early to accurately gauge the void left by Steve Jobs stepping down as Apple's CEO.
It will take years before investors will truly know how much of Apple's success has been due to the leadership of its co-founder. The road map of Apple has been put in place by Jobs, and the strategy will guide the company for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, it's somewhat interesting to take a look at investors' short-term reactions. And that's about all investors can do at this point, considering that Jobs just stepped down as CEO on August 24, 2011. The day before Jobs' announcement, Apple's stock closed at $373.60. Today, Apple's stock is trading at $399.26, for a 6.9% increase.
The fact Apple's stock is up about 7%, though, doesn't tell us much. It's important to compare that change with some other benchmarks, to give us a relative movement. During the same time, the Standard & Poor's 500 index went from 1,162.35 on August 23 to 1,175.38 at the close on September 27, for a 1.1% increase. So Apple's increase beat the market. This indicates investors are unnerved by the big change at the top.
But what about some of Apple's tech peers? During that time, Microsoft (MSFT) went from $24.72 to $25.67, for a 3.8% increase. And Google (GOOG) went from $518.82 to $539.34, for a 4.0% increase.
Given all this information, it appears that investors aren't all that bothered so far by Jobs stepping down as CEO. Apple's stock has handily beat the stock market and top rivals. The only wildcard might be Microsoft, which recently unveiled a powerful new operating system, codenamed Windows 8, that will work on tablets and potentially pose the first real risk to the iPad.
Some think eventually Apple will run into some trouble, as most companies that lose their powerful leaders do.
But so far, investors are saying "Steve Jobs who?"
Matt Krantz is a financial markets reporter at USA TODAY and author of Investing Online for Dummies and Fundamental Analysis for Dummies. He answers a different reader question every weekday in his Ask Matt column at money.usatoday.com. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Matt on Twitter at: twitter.com/mattkrantz