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Apple's share price takes a beating

The incredible popularity of Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, doesn't appear to have been enough to please investors: trading late yesterday saw a massive $14 billion wiped off the company's value, with a total of $22 billion being lost in just two days.

While Apple has been enjoying watching its iPad 2 fly off the shelves faster than it can build them, investors are worried about the company's long-term future - and a mass sell-off saw the company's stock value plummet yesterday.

According to coverage by Reuters, the sudden flood of sell orders came as a result of a downgrade by Alex Gauna, a financial analyst for JMP Securities, who believes that Apple is at risk of 'complacency' thanks to its recent successes.

"The sell-side has gotten itself into a game of one-upmanship," claimed Gauna in his report, while also pointing out that Apple's dependence on components - including large volumes of NAND flash memory and display components which it uses in its portable device ranges - from earthquake-hit Japan could also impact the company's performance over the coming year.

Pointing to reduced sales at a Foxconn subsidiary responsible for supplying many of Apple's components, Gauna downgraded Apple's stock to 'market outperform,' triggering the sell-off that resulted in a 4.5 per cent drop - although rumblings of discontentment started on Tuesday, when a flurry of sales resulted in a 2.3 per cent drop in share value.

The slide represents the biggest single-day hit the company has suffered in around nine months, and comes as a surprise to many investors given the recent positive press received as a result of the iPad 2 launch.