Shares in Apple Inc. continued to fall Friday, as the stock pared another 4% of its value. As with yesterday's 4% drop, the losses came amidst a broader sell-off, and this time it was Microsoft's better-than-expected results that couldn't prop up tech stocks.
On Thursday, Microsoft turned in results that were better than expected for the December quarter, with revenue of US$19.02 billion, a 14% increase over the year-ago quarter. Net income was $6.66 billion - seriously - which was up 60% year-over-year.
The company attributed the growth to a successful Windows 7 launch - the operating system went on sale in October of 2009. While one could be excused for thinking that a record quarter from Apple and growing sales of Windows would be enough to cheer investors on tech stocks, the markets have been pulling back.
At least one analyst is pinning that pullback on profit taking fueled by fear. Hank Smith, chief investment officer of equities at Haverford Investments told Marketwatch, "We hear it every day from our clients. Even [if] they've missed some of this bull market off the lows, they are just deathly afraid of being whipsawed [by a fresh bout of selling]."
Shares in Apple closed at $192.063, down $7.227 (-3.63%). on heavy volume of 44.4 million shares trading hands. Shares in Microsoft also closed lower, at $28.18, down 0.98 (-3.36%), on very heavy volume of 74.2 million shares trading hands.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.