Dated, disputed rumor of Tim Cook joining HP affects Apple stock

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A two-week-old rumor that Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook could leave for rival HP caused concern among shareholders on Wall Street Tuesday.

Shares of AAPL dropped nearly 6 percent to start Tuesday, as a rumor that Cook would leave to become the new chief executive of HP gained traction. But as noted by Fortune, the rumor is not new at all — it's two weeks old.

By Tuesday afternoon, shares of AAPL slightly recovered, but not entirely. HP was up nearly 1 percent.

Numerous sites reported the Cook-to-HP rumor on Tuesday, but Apple's public relations department declined to comment on the matter. However, Cook reportedly had coffee Tuesday morning with Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Co., and used the opportunity to dispel the rumor.

"Tim Cook will not be going to HP," Marshall told Barron's. "He loves Apple."

Cook was instrumental in Apple's success when CEO Steve Jobs took a leave of absence for health reasons in 2009 .Cook assumed the role of interim Apple CEO from January to June of 2009 so that Jobs could recover from liver transplant surgery.

Cook's tenure had him oversee the successful launches of several key products, most notably the iPhone 3GS. For his work, Cook was rewarded by Apple this year with a $22 million bonus.

Reports of Cook leaving are nothing new, as, in 2009, it was reported that Dell and Motorola tried to hire him away from Apple.

It's widely expressed amongst Apple circles that Cook has long been groomed to succeed Jobs in leading the company should the co-founder ever have to step down.

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