NEW YORK — An online report claiming that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) chief executive Steve Jobs has had a heart attack is not true, the company said today.
Responding to a report in “iReport”, a citizen journalist Web site owned and operated by Time Warner Inc’s CNN (NYSE: TWX), Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told Reuters by e-mail: “It is not true.”
The report claimed Jobs was rushed to the emergency room after suffering “a major heart attack.”
Asked for further details about the status of Jobs’ health, Dowling repeated: “The story is not true.”
The report has since been removed from iReport. A CNN spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Apple shares, which have in the past been shaken by the question of Jobs’ health, climbed more than 5 percent in early trade but retreated as the rumor gained momentum on Internet blogs. The stock at one point was down more than 2 percent, and hit a 17-month low of $94.65.
After Apple denied the report, the shares recovered, climbing to $104.04, up 3.9 percent on Nasdaq.
The report comes about a month after Jobs, who is often perceived as irreplaceable as Apple’s leader, introduced new iPod digital music players, appearing thin but jaunty. He walked on a stage in front of a screen that flashed “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” — a quotation borrowed from Mark Twain.
Before that event, investors for months had been concerned about the cancer survivor’s health after he appeared thin at another product launch in June. In 2004, Jobs, 53, said he had undergone successful surgery to remove a rare type of pancreatic cancer.
Volatile trading in Apple’s shares on Friday may also have been influenced by Barclays Capital’s report that it had slashed its price target on Apple to $135 a share from to $180 a share.
The iReport site carries a disclaimer stating: “CNN makes no guarantees about the content or the coverage on iReport.com.”
Several major new organizations, including Reuters, offer readers an opportunity to submit first-person news reports and photographs via the Web.