Apple stock hit by brief mini crash of over 6 percent before rebounding

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Apple shares on Monday saw its most precipitous decline in three months after opening to unusually high trade volume, shedding as much as $40 billion in market value before rebounding to end the day down more than three percent.

Shares of AAPL opened the day at $118.76 and hit a low point of $111.27 just before 9:51 a.m. Eastern after a furious minute of trading that saw the stock dip 3 percent. Over 6.7 million trades were conducted over the short one-minute period, reports Reuters. Trading ranged from $111.27 to $119.25, while Apple ended the day at $115.10 with a $675 billion market cap.

While the exact cause of AAPL's brief "mini crash" is unknown, stock market experts believe high frequency trading algorithms were triggered earlier today, the publication says.

"When you see that kind of price action that is simply algos running stocks," said Steve Hammer, founder of HFT Alert, a firm that monitors algorithmic trading.

According to Hammer, trade volume of some 300 stocks spiked shortly after markets opened, an indication of larger holdings firms initiating sell programs. By the closing bell, nearly 85 million shares of AAPL had switched hands compared to a three-month average volume of 58.6 million.

Other market analysts, however, say blaming HFT at this time is a bit premature and not representative of complex market dynamics. For example, tumbling commodity shares like oil may have spurred traders to sell off Apple and other holdings to free up liquidity.

Apple stock recently reached a milestone when its market capitalization breached $700 billion last week, jumping more than $40 billion in two weeks of trading.