Analysts react to Steve Jobs resignation: Apple move expected, Cook a star, buy

Wall Street is comfortable with new Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Steve Jobs resignation as CEO of Apple led to a bevy of analyst reaction. The general theme among analysts is that the Jobs resignation isn't surprising and Tim Cook is the best choice to replace him. Overall, analysts expect Apple to continue to deliver hit products and strong earnings.

Here's a sampling of Wall Street analysts and their reaction to Jobs' resignation.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster:

We believe Tim Cook is the ideal candidate to assume the role of the irreplaceable Steve Jobs. According to Apple's succession plan, as Apple's new CEO Cook will join the Board of Directors, now chaired by Jobs. We believe Jobs' final act as CEO is another of his many great accomplishments. Cook is capable of running Apple, but his rare combination of extreme humility and insatiable motivation make him uniquely suited to assume Jobs' role as CEO and carry on his work with a peerless executive team. While there may be concerns among investors as to whether or not Cook can continue Jobs' streak of innovation, we believe there is no better candidate to assume the role. And in many ways, it will be Jobs and his deeply rooted vision that will always guide Apple and its leaders.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek:

We believe Tim Cook has been able to demonstrate his deep understanding and expertise in manufacturing and supply chain management. Even with the unfortunate events in Japan around the time of the iPad 2 release, Tim Cook was able to double or sometimes triple source component suppliers. To date, no competitor has been able to gain meaningful share in the tablet market; and, in our view, Cook's leadership during the introduction was critical to this

BCG analyst Colin Gillis:

While it is clearly a loss to have Steve step down as CEO, we mention that given a transition has occurred, having Tim as CEO is the best solution in our eyes. We see this reduces the uncertainty that comes from having a new CEO, and we do not expect to see Tim take any actions such as "spinning out its PC business" or "acquiring a low margin hardware business." We see Tim as a steady hand on the tiller of the company, and coupled with the over arching guidance from Steve as Chair, we do not have near or mid term concerns on execution and vision for the company.


Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes:

While this announcement is sad news, one of the positives is that Mr. Jobs will stay on as Chairman of the Board and lend his insight and influence to Apple’s strategy and future product development for at least a period of time. We do not believe Tim Cook’s appointment as CEO should come as a real surprise – and nor should Steve Jobs’ resignation. Tim Cook was paid a significant bonus last year – the type paid to a clear successor for the world’s most innovative company.

Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore:

We believe Cook is a highly capable executive and deeply familiar with Apples' business plans, product roadmaps and operations. He has also acted as interim CEO on previous occasions and we see very little near term execution risk.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty:

We view Apple’s announced CEO transition as well timed given upcoming new product launches and accelerating market share gains in key markets. Importantly, we remain highly confident in our near-term EPS estimates and rank Apple as best positioned to see upward earnings revisions within our coverage universe...We believe Apple is appropriately prepared for the CEO transition with a long-term product road map and market expansion strategy.

JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna:

For our part, we believe the new CEO, Tim Cook, is a perfectly capable and suitable succession candidate; however, it is not immediately evident to us how Apple replaces the irreplaceable and we are maintaining our neutral stance on the stock until it becomes clear - either that innovation and operational efficiencies will continue unabated under new management or that they are breaking down.

Wedbush analyst Scott Sutherland:

The change of the guard does not alter fundamentals, and we see a solid product pipeline driving upside to expectations. The reality of Steve stepping down will likely cause a negative reaction in the stock although we do not expect it to be material. We would remain buyers on any weakness as we believe the fundamentals remain intact. We continue to see solid iPhone and iPad sales, PC market share gains, and new products leading to likely solid upside to expectations for 2011 and 2012. Of note, we see an iPhone 4S this fall, an iPad 3, and an iPhone 5 with a materially revamped user interface and 4G early next year. We also believe Apple will move more materially into the "connected TV” space. We would note that Steve will serve as Chairman of the board. The company did not have a Chairman and instead had two Co-lead Directors.


Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

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