As of Monday morning the stock was officially down for 2011

Explain this, if you would.

Two days before Apple AAPL was expected to report record earnings — with customers snapping up iPhones faster than it can make them and others still camping out overnight to buy the latest iPad — the world’s most valuable technology company on Monday was down more than $7 (2.2%) in early morning trading.

It would be one thing if the whole market had collapsed. But the Dow was still up nearly 5% for the year.

Meanwhile, Apple, a mega cap growing at a rate of 70% to 80% a year —  a company with enough cash on hand to ensure supplies even after a tsunami has wiped out its competitors’ –dipped briefly into negative territory for the year.

Go figure.

UPDATE: The stock recovered to close at 331.85, up $4.39 (1.3%) for the day and back in positive territory for the year.]

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]