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Apple shares open below $100 for first time since 2014

Wall Street's pessimistic view of the iPhone's future continues to drag Apple stock downward, as shares of the Cupertino company opened trading below $100 for the first time in more than a year on Thursday.

Premarket activity brought Apple to $98.72, a 1.97 percent drop from Wednesday's $100.70 closing price. The decline leveled off after trading began, with shares rising to $99.59 at press time.

Apple shares last opened under $100 in Oct. 2014, four months after the company's 7-for-1 split.

Investors remain concerned about the long-term growth potential for the iPhone. The megapopular handset — and the iOS ecosystem surrounding it — now account for the lion's share of Apple's revenue and profits, magnifying the effects of any potential slowdown.

Apple is expected to reveal strong holiday sales on its upcoming first-quarter earnings call, but many bears believe that could be the last gasp for growth. Some say that the upcoming March quarter could bring the iPhone's first ever year-over-year sales decline, though that remains a minority viewpoint.

In what may have been a move designed to soothe investors' worries, Apple earlier this week touted record-breaking sales numbers for the App Store. Consumers spent more than $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases in a two-week span covering Christmas and New Year's Day, including $144 million on Jan. 1 alone.