Apple Stock Plunge Prompted by Jobs' Health Rumor?

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

That is part of the puzzle today concerning the Silicon Valley darling Apple.

Here's the chicken:  The stock lost $10 billion in four minutes Thursday.

Here's the egg: There is a rumor that Steve Jobs is in the hospital again.

Did the stock's drop spark the rumor? Or did the rumor spark the drop in stock?

If the Jobs rumor is true, it would be a surprise turn of events. Jobs was spotted on the Apple campus reportedly looking just fine in recent days.  He is out on medical leave right now for an undisclosed illness.

Jobs health rumors have been the stuff of legend in past years, but there hasn't been a hospital rumor for quite awhile.

When Jobs was actually at his sickest and received a liver transplant, no one reported it for months. He quietly traveled to Tennessee for the operation in March of 2009 and there was no leak of the effort  until he made it public three months later.

For the record: We would not have posted this story at all if not for the plunge in stock price.

Note: The plunge didn't last long. Apple's stock rebounded Friday, hitting $357.20 mid-afternoon -- regaining more than half of the value lost Thursday.

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