Apple shares to close year with worst performance since 2008

An Apple logo is seen inside the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of Apple Inc, the largest U.S. company by market value, are set to finish the year in the red on notable weakness for a stock that had largely been impervious to pain for several years. * Apple Inc shares are on track to finish the year down 4 percent, its first down year since 2008. * Shares have shed about a fifth of their value since touching a high of $134.54 on April 28, and are down 17.5 percent since the inclusion of the stock in the Dow Jones industrial average in March. * Declines this year have wiped out about $57 billion in Apple's market capitalization, about as much as fellow Dow component DuPont Co is worth. Apple is currently worth about $590 billion. * Headed into the last day of trading, the S&P 500 was up 0.22 percent for the year-to-date. Excluding Apple, the index would be up 0.31 percent, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. * Longer term, Apple remains a boost for the index. For 2014, the S&P rose 11.39 percent. Without Apple? It would have risen only 10.59 percent. Since the bear market low on March 9, 2009, the S&P is up 204.99 percent, but losing Apple would mean it would have gained just 197.63 percent, Silverblatt said. * During its six-year run of gains, the stock has risen by at least 25 percent in five of those years. * Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who first disclosed a significant stake in Apple in August 2013, owned about 52.76 million shares as of Sept 30. On that day, the stake was worth $5.82 billion. * Wall Street analysts' still love the stock. Of 49 brokerages, 41 have a positive rating and none hold a "sell" rating. Analysts have a median price target of $145 - implying a gain of nearly 40 percent from current levels. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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