Steve Jobs hasn't attended a conference call in years (see archive). So any attempt to imply that Jobs' lack of presence at the conference call yesterday is related to health concerns, is either driven by a motivation to manipulate the stock price or is said with a complete lack of knowledge of how Apple's management operates things (and probably a complete lack of knowledge of Apple's fundamentals altogether).
I for one believe some hedge fund(s) decided to manipulate Apple's stock price yesterday, and spread rumors about Steve Jobs' questionable health (as if they're all physicians) via the New York Post article. Otherwise, how does one explain the highly "coincidental" "concern" over Steve Jobs' health that is raised on the day Apple happens to report earnings? The issue of Jobs' health is old news. It was brought up over a month ago, and almost no one has even remotely mentioned the issue ever since. Yet, right when earnings rolls in, it happens to be the focal point of Apple's earnings report. The fact that Apple once again smashed consensus estimates and the whisper numbers across the board doesn't matter. Only Jobs' fictitious health problems diagnosed by Hedge Fund Managers, MD matters here.
Apple is the only stock that I know of that goes down 10% despite beating every single analyst's expectations (according to Thomson Financial) across all categories: Mac Sales, iPod Sales, Revenue and EPS beat everyone's expectations. GOOG, RIMM and MSFT missed on their earnings results and fell either less than Apple did or about the same as Apple did after earnings. And they missed! Moreover, Apple fell a combined total of $15.00 on other company's earnings results. Apple fell $6.66 on Google miss and about $9.00 on RIMM's miss.
So Apple is now down over $30.00 on earnings reports despite the fact that it beat expectations. And the whole guidance thing is just complete nonsense. No one should listen to anything Apple has to say regarding the future. Its guidance is meaningless. Yet, Apple will not go up a single quarter as long as we're in a shaky market no matter what Apple posts in earnings. Why? Because the market will just continue to simply ignore the fact that Apple gives conservative guidance that it always smashes. And as irrational as Wall Street's misplaced focus of Apple's guidance is, there is nothing that can be done about it.
Moreover, there is nothing that can be done about the obvious manipulation by Hedge Funds and obvious misreporting by the media. What this should tell investors is that Apple's earnings has become the easiest short on Wall Street. This past earnings results confirmed this. Fool me once (Q1 Earnings) shame on you, fool me twice (Q3 Earnings) shame on me...
Disclosure: Long Apple for now.