Apple stock falls 10 percent on false report of Jobs' heart attack

Stock falls after report posted Friday on a CNN user-content site claimed Jobs had been rushed to hospital suffering severe chest pains.

Reports early Friday that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a major heart attack briefly sent company shares sliding, but prices rebounded after Apple denied that Jobs had been hospitalized.

Shares fell by more than 10 percent almost immediately after someone posted a report on a CNN user-content site claiming that Jobs had been rushed to a hospital after a heart attack. The piece on CNN's iReport.com, an unfiltered site that welcomes posts from "citizen journalists," cited an anonymous source who claimed that paramedics had been called after Jobs suffered "severe chest pains and shortness of breath." The report has been yanked from iReport.com.

Apple quickly denied the report, telling reporters that the account was "not true."

The company's stock took a dive on the news, dropping from its after-opening high of US$106.19 to as low as $94.65, a fall of 10.9 percent. The brief dip under $100 was the first time since May 2007 that Apple's share price has slipped under that mark.

Apple's shares rebounded later Friday. As of about 12:30 p.m. EDT, shares were priced at US$104.47, up $4.36, or 4.36 percent, for the day. That price, however, was still under the day's high to that point.

Jobs' health has been an on-and-off concern on the part of some investors since June, when he appeared gaunt at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference. His appearance then fueled speculation that he was again ill. In August 2004, Jobs announced he had had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his pancreas.

In August, the Bloomberg financial news service inadvertently posted Jobs' obituary. News organizations typically write obituaries of notables while they're still alive, and regularly update them so that the stories are quickly available.

At the time, Apple's stock fell slightly, but as it did Friday, later rebounded.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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