Steve Jobs Premium Is Gone: Opinion

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Steve Jobs strikes again.

Apple ( AAPL) stock is down for the third time in a month on concerns over the CEO's health. The first selloff occurred on Jan. 18 after Apple had announced that Jobs would be taking a leave of absence; the stock sold off from $348 to $326.

The second Jobs selloff is referred to as the Apple flash crash after a hospitalization rumor caused the $6 drop in four minutes.

Today we see Apple off 1.1% or $4 on the report from the National Enquirer that he may have six weeks to live. This National Enquirer thesis comes by way of a doctor who observed the pictures of Steve and speculated that his cancer has relapsed and is now in its terminal stages.

It would seem logical that if Jobs' condition were terminal, Apple would have replaced him permanently back on Jan. 17 but with Apple and Jobs, you never know.

This guy has always been described as a workaholic and in this case, the decision is entirely in his hands. I highly doubt that any board member would refuse Steve's wish to remain part of the company. It's a terrible thing that Jobs' privacy is invaded by reckless speculation regarding his health but as long as he is part of Apple, investors will be forced to deal with the issue.

After the first selloff, the stock took 15 trading days to reclaim its prior high of $348. The flash crash of Feb. 10 saw a recovery by the end of the day on news from the Wall Street Journal that Jobs had been spotted on the Apple campus.

In both of those cases it was profitable to buy AAPL on the initial dip. It's becoming obvious that this stock is no longer priced for a Steve Jobs premium. Everyone already assumes he's in bad shape; there's not an Apple investor who thinks otherwise. Confidence is beginning to build that any stock dip on this kind of news should be bought.

Apple is the undisputed market leader and there isn't any other company in a close second. Investors who sell Apple because of Jobs' health start getting antsy after a day or two on the sidelines. What are they going to do? Go load up on Intel ( INTC) or Microsoft ( MSFT)?

The Apple growth story is in its sweet spot and its low comparative valuation has investors looking to buy any dips; that is the primary reason why the dips haven't lasted very long. The Steve Jobs premium is gone but the fundamentals remain.

It's quite a tribute to Jobs' accomplishment as a company builder that this stock has been so resilient. There is a real possibility that on the day we hear of Jobs' death (hopefully many years down the road!) that AAPL will actually finish the session higher as the uncertainty regarding his health is no longer an issue. There is nothing that investors hate more than uncertainty.

This is part of the reason why AAPL has performed better without Jobs than it has with him over the last two years. In the short run traders will freak out and sell but long-term investors are showing a desire to step in and buy.

At the time of publication, Schwarz was long Apple.

Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at www.economictiming.com. Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.

More from Opinion

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech

Google's EU Battles Are Hardly a Reason to Panic

Google's EU Battles Are Hardly a Reason to Panic