Apple (AAPL) Shares Tank Again

So much for that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) rally.

After a late-November surge, Apple shares have fallen flat the last two days. They’re down close to 6% since Tuesday morning, falling an even 4% as of 12:30 p.m. ET today.

At $552 per share, Apple is as cheap as it’s been since before its November rally took the stock from $525 a share on November 15 to $589 on November 26.

Apple shares have now fallen 22% since hitting an all-time high of $705 in September.

According to analysts, possible catalysts behind the tech stock’s latest retreat are increased competition in the tablet market and a murky future for tax rates on capital gains thanks to the impending fiscal cliff.

As usual, Apple’s big move is having a profound effect on its native Nasdaq. The tech-heavy index is down 0.3% on a day when the other two U.S. indices have risen substantially. The S&P 500 has climbed half a percent today, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a full percentage point.

Because Apple is the largest publicly traded company in the world, when it rises and falls it tends to drag the entire market with it.

Despite its latest slump, the stock is still having a very good year. Apple shares have surged 36% in 2012 – an ever better percentage gain than its stellar 2011 performance.

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