Shares of Apple Inc. closed below US$580 on Friday, the first time it has done so since July 26th. $AAPL ended the week at $576.80, a loss of $19.74 (-3.31 percent), on moderate volume of 22.1 millions shares trading hands.
The broader markets were down, but AAPL's selloff may have been sparked by what is being pitched as a lukewarm reception to Apple's new iPad mini, which was released Friday morning. Many headlines have characterized lines at Apple Stores as being short, though that perception doesn't comport with the math.
Investors were already touchy about Apple's iPad mini price tag, which starts at $329, and many pundits have characterized that price as too high to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7, which both start at $199.
On Thursday, we covered a research note from Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee in which he argued that customers won't be paying attention to the tech echo chamber's complaints, an analysis we believe is spot on. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster told his clients on Friday that he expects Apple to sell 1.5 million of the devices during its debut weekend.
$AAPL is well off of its all-time closing high of $702.10 on September 19th, 2012, having declined 17.9 percent since then. The full year's picture is more flattering, however; AAPL is up 42.4 percent on the year from its $405 per share closing price on December 30th.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.