Shares of Apple Computer slid nearly 5 percent yesterday following reports that sales of its iPod digital music player appear to be slowing...

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SAN FRANCISCO — Shares of Apple Computer slid nearly 5 percent yesterday following reports that sales of its iPod digital music player appear to be slowing.

Investment firm Goldman Sachs said in a report Thursday that it expects shipments of Apple’s digital music player to be flat this quarter. Internet news site AppleInsider also reported Thursday that Apple has a glut of most iPod models, especially the recently launched iPod Shuffle.

Yesterday, Apple shares fell $1.80, or 4.5 percent, to close at $38.24. The shares have traded between $14.15 and $45.44 over the past year.

AppleInsider quoted unidentified sources who said that shipments of most iPod models are “flat or declining” for the first time since the device was launched in 2001. The report also said Apple was overstocked in some models of personal computers and other products.

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“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling responded.

The iPod has seen increased competition from rival digital music players in recent months as well as the emergence of handheld devices that perform multiple tasks.

Apple has historically shipped more iPods to retailers than expected but Goldman Sachs analysts predicted that Apple would likely only meet expectations this quarter.

Also yesterday, the company announced an iPod recycling program in which customers can bring the portable music players they no longer want to Apple’s U.S. retail stores for environmentally friendly disposal. Those who drop off an iPod will receive a 10 percent discount on a new one. The discount is only good the day people drop off their older iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo.

Any hazardous material would not be shipped overseas for processing, according to an Apple news release.