Shares of Apple and the Nasdaq-100 Index sink on news of Steve Jobs' resignation as chief executive of Apple.
Steve Jobs resignation from Apple sends world markets tumbling
The resignation of Steve Jobs as the chief executive of Apple took a multibillion-dollar bite out of the company's market value and wiped as much as US$52 billion (Dh190bn) off stocks around the world yesterday.
Apple's shares in the US sank as much as 7 per cent in after-hours trading, following Mr Jobs's announcement on Wednesday night that he would be stepping down from his post immediately.
Futures trading on the S&P 500 Index slumped yesterday by as much as 0.6 per cent on the news, while the Nasdaq-100 index dropped 0.3 per cent.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," Mr Jobs wrote in a letter to the Apple board late on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, that day has come," he added. "I hereby resign as CEO of Apple."
The 56-year-old leader of the world's second most valuable company has already been elected chairman of Apple's board. After surviving a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Mr Jobs has encountered more recent health issues, though did not specify his reasons for stepping down.
Tim Cook, the Apple chief operating officer has been strongly tipped to take the top job. Mr Cook acted as interim chief executive while Mr Jobs was on medical leave.
While Apple's board was quick to act on the news, some investors are concerned that the company may not be able to keep up with the brisk sales pace of its devices without the company founder at the helm.
Apple posted a record quarterly profit of $7.31bn when it released its latest earnings last month, buoyed by sales of more than 20 million iPhones and 9 million iPads, but sales of its music-playing iPods dropped 20 per cent from the same quarter a year ago.
Neverthless, Apple briefly surpassed ExxonMobil as the most valuable company by market value in the world before dropping back to second position.
"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," Mr Jobs wrote in his resignation letter.
"And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role."