Apple Shares Down in Pre-Market Trading

In pre-market trading, Apple’s shares were down approximately 4.6%, or US$16.03, to $332.45 at 8:40 AM Eastern time on Tuesday, as investors reacted to Monday’s news that CEO Steve Jobs is taking a health-related leave of absence. The dip wiped out about $15 billion in market value, although, as TMO noted on Monday, some analysts see it as a buying opportunity.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Apple’s stock was down 6.2% in Frankfurt, Germany trading, while in Taiwan, Apple component suppliers Hon Hai and TPK lost 0.4% and 1.5% of their shares’ values, respectively.

Apple will report results for its first quarter for fiscal year 2011, ending December 31, after the close of the market on Tuesday. Consensus estimates call for the company to report $24.38 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 55.5% leap over the previous year on the strength of the iPad’s success, the iPhone’s continued strength, and the likelihood of another record-setting quarter for number of Macs sold.

Apple’s Tuesday stock price dip will still likely keep its market cap around $321 billion, remaining ahead of Microsoft, which it surpassed last May. As the Wall Street Journal noted, that milestone capped a stunning turnaround for a company whose stock hit split-adjusted lows of $3.19 in December 1997 and $6.36 in April 2003.