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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.