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Apple shares gyrate on rumours

Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) slid as much as 5.6 percent Tuesday on rumours its No. 2 executive was departing for Hewlett-Packard Co., but the stock recovered as analysts dismissed the speculation.

Unconfirmed reports on the Internet said Tim Cook, chief operating officer and widely regarded as the heir apparent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, would leave to succeed Mark Hurd as HP's CEO.

Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall, who spoke with Cook on Tuesday, said the reports were untrue. Marshall said he ran into Cook by coincidence and asked him about the rumour.

"He said it was preposterous and he's very happy at Apple," Marshall said.

The sharp drop in Apple's share price occurred at the stock market open, with a flurry of trades in the $275 US range before the shares recovered. The stock closed at $291.16 on Monday.

Representatives from Apple and HP declined to comment.

BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis also doubted Cook was headed to HP.

"We don't expect that to happen. Whatever Tim would want to achieve at HP he could achieve at Apple. Steve jobs will not be CEO forever. He's on a short list,'' Gillis said.

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