Millennials are quick to associate Apple with its status as being a global leader in technology and for good reason. The company deserves credit for creating the modern smartphone: sexy, exciting, and productive. But few are unaware of Apple’s roots as a struggling computer company that was once on the verge of bankruptcy. The Apple share price history reflects this reality.
Apple share price history: starting at $0.39
Apple was co-founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 and one year later launched the Apple II computer. The company, officially known at the time as Apple Computers Inc, went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange on 12 December 1980, at a split-adjusted cost of 39 cents per share. Four years later Apple launched the first Macintosh computer.
Apple’s board of directors ousted Jobs from the company in 1985 only for him to return as CEO in 1997. At that time, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy but Jobs had a turnaround plan, including securing a $150 million investment from Microsoft to support Office products for the Mac.
By October 1997, Apple stock growth history hadn't started yet as shares were trading at 78 cents (split-adjusted) a piece. Savvy investors who recognised Jobs’ vision were in for a treat over the coming decades. Apple’s 1998 launch of the iMac was an important moment for Apple but not as important for Apple stock history.
Apple shares history: the start of the modern era
2001 marks the official start of Apple’s new era when it launched the iPod in November. Surprisingly, investors were unimpressed as shares gained a mere 5 cents to close the trading session at $9.38 (not adjusted for splits).
Ten million devices were sold through the end of 2004 and Apple’s stock increased more than three-fold since the initial launch.
Apple’s stock price increased over the years and rose to $92.54 on 9 January 2007, which corresponds to the day Jobs first introduced the concept of the iPhone. When the new phone was launched on 1 June shares were trading at $122.01.
Here is a summary of future iPhone launch dates through to 2014, the next important milestone in Apple shares history.
- iPhone 3G released on 11 July 2008.
- iPhone 3GS launched on 19 June 2009.
- iPhone 4 launched on 21 June 2010.
- iPhone 4S launched on 14 October 2011.
- iPhone 5 launched on 12 September 2012.
- iPhone 5C and 5S launched on 20 September 2013.
Apple stock price history chart
Apple share value history: the stock splits 7-For-1 and continues to fly
Apple initiated a two-for-one stock split in 1987, 2000, and 2005 but Apple stock growth history over the years dictated a much larger split was needed to maintain a healthy base of retail investors.
Apple’s stock had risen to a whopping $655.90 on the day a seven-for-one stock split became official on 9 June 2014. The surge over the years is directly attributed to Apple not only growing sales of its devices but smashing expectations – in every region it operates in.
A new leader sets the tone
Apple stock performance and momentum continued throughout the late 2000s and into the new decade with the April 2010 launch of the first iPad. Unfortunately, the early start of the decade is also highlighted with the death of Jobs who stepped down in August 2011 and died around two months later at the age of 56.
Apple’s stock was trading at $54.03 on the day of his death on 5 October 2011. The stock didn’t show any negative movement as Jobs’ health issues were well known by the market. His successor and current CEO Tim Cook was widely viewed at the time as having a stronger business sense – a much-needed quality given Apple’s already successful technological evolution.
Cook also introduced new shareholder-friendly initiatives, including reintroducing a cash dividend in 2012 and committing to annual increases in 2016. Under Cook’s leadership some of the biggest names in investing found the stock attractive. Most notably, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in Apple in the low $100s – an odd move for the savvy investor who historically shied away from tech investments.
Panic on the Street
Buffett’s nod of approval in 2016 was followed up with subsequent purchases over the years. Everything was going great and Apple’s valuation hit the coveted $1 trillion mark in 2018. However, sentiment quickly reversed as investors and analysts started to question if peak Apple stock performance had passed.
All concerns were confirmed in early 2019 when Apple issued its first profit warning in 16 years. The company said in January it expects total revenue to be $9 billion less than prior estimates, partly due to poor performance in China. Shares of Apple had fallen from above $230 in 2018 to below $150.
But investors who counted Apple to be down and out were on the losing side of the trade and missed out on a whopping 89 per cent surge throughout 2019.
The Street was debating in early 2020 when Apple would become a $2 trillion company.
And then the coronavirus happened and all bets were suddenly off the table.
Apple performance In 2020
Apple’s stock peaked at $327.85 before investors started questioning what impact the coronavirus would not only have on consumer demand worldwide but to its supply chain. Apple depends on factories across China to manufacture its devices.
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Laura Martin, an analyst with Needham, said under a worst-case scenario, 32 per cent of Apple’s entire business could be disrupted. She said unless Apple’s factories are fully operating by June, it won’t be able to launch a new iPhone device in 2020.
And this is where we are today with Apple’s stock. As of 13 March, the Apple share graph has lost more than 6 per cent since the start of the year which is better than the broader Nasdaq index that has fallen more than 12 per cent.
Investors are likely assuming any loss in sales amid the coronavirus scare will merely be pushed to a later date. So the impact on Apple’s financials will be temporary, followed by a surge in demand once the coronavirus outbreak eases.
This is ultimately the best-case-scenario but doesn’t assume there will be any change in consumer behaviour once the coronavirus becomes old news. Will consumers want to spend as much money as before on devices instead of saving cash for emergencies? This is ultimately the key question that will dictate Apple’s stock performance but also a question no one can answer today.
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