Apple Stock Watch - Nasdaq Outage Plagues Tech Stocks, Apple Drops

by , 9:00 PM EDT, June 29th, 2001

The big news today was a huge problem with Nasdaq's trading system that blocked access to trading from many, many investors. An attempt to run some diagnostic software by a WorldCom employee on the Nasdaq's network crashed the system in such a way as to wipe out the password used by Nasdaq administrators. The result was halted trading, an extended session, and a bunch of tense traders. The situation was exacerbated by the timing. Today was the end of the quarter, a time when many fund managers perform what is referred to as "Window Dressing." Window Dressing is the practice of selling off risky stocks and buying "safer" stocks to prop up a the way a fund looks in its prospectus. Today was also the day that the Russel 2000 gets reassessed, and the outage greatly impacted that reassessment.

Before the outage halted actions, tech stocks were off to a strong rally. From an Upside Today report:

"You can't point to a single reason for the market being so strong today," said Stephen Carl, head of equity trading at the Williams Capital Group. "It's probably a combination of the improved jobless numbers, the Microsoft (MSFT) ruling and the fact that we didn't tank yesterday after we only got a 25 point cut from the Fed."

By the time all was said and done, the Nasdaq was up 35 points on very strong volume of 2.3 billion shares. The Dow dropped 63 points on moderate volume of 1.3 billion shares.

The fallout from Microsoft's appeals ruling in its antitrust case are continuing to trickle down through investment circles. Met with immediate euphoria, investors and analysts have shifted their opinion to one that considers the negative impact of the decision. As we expected, the biggest threat perceived for Microsoft is that the company will face huge damage claims as a confirmed monopolist. From a C|Net report:

"The real risk associated with the ruling is potential civil litigation," wrote Blair, William & Co. analyst Laura Lederman. Though the potential lawsuits aren't likely to affect the stock in the next year or two, she added, there are some concrete possibilities on the far horizon. "AOL/Netscape has the best case," Lederman said, and Microsoft "could owe damages to the tune of $3 billion." As for individual lawsuits, 20 states allow individual purchaser claims. "We believe this litigation is five to six years away in that most people who bring these suits will wait for the conclusion of the major civil lawsuits," Lederman noted.

Microsoft moved up by 26 cents to close at 73 (even) on strong volume.

Earlier today, we reported that Apple was the recipient of some very positive statements from Susan Byrne of Gabelli Westwood. Ms. Byrne cited Apple's balance sheet, the company's inventory control, and the new products Apple has released. She closed her comment by saying "Apple currently has upside potential that outweighs the limited downside risk by a factor of four to one."

Apple's stock closed lower today, but the graphing data shows AAPL as having posted a gain. This is most likely related to today's Nasdaq problems.

Apple closed at 23.25, down 0.29 (-1.23%), on strong volume of 10,072,800 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2160.54, up 35.08 (+1.65%), on volume of 2,344,913,000 trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10502.40, down 63.81 (-0.60%), on volume of 1,303,166,000 trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1224.42, down 1.78 (-0.15%).

Adobe has helped Fidelity be the top mutual fund in the last quarter according to CBS Marketwatch. ADBE closed at 47, up 0.14 (+0.30%), on volume of 4,614,700 shares trading hands.

Akamai closed at 9.175, a strong gain of 1.035 (+12.71%), on strong volume of 3,961,900 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink closed at 14.10, up 0.13 (+0.93%), on light volume of 934,800 shares trading hands.

IBM closed at 113.50, down 1.60 (-1.39%), on strong volume of 9,477,400 shares trading hands.

Macromedia closed at 18, up 0.96 (+5.63%), on heavy volume of 2,800,500 shares trading hands.

Motorola has landed another deal in Communist China; the company will be supplying Beijing Gehua CATV Network Co. Ltd. with infrastructure equipment. MOT closed at 16.56, a gain of 1.09 (+7.05%), on strong volume of 17,592,500 shares trading hands.

Dell may be considering using AMD's processors in some of its desktop computers. DELL closed at 26.15, a loss of 0.27 (-1.02%), on strong volume of 39,266,800 shares trading hands.

Gateway has had too much demand for the company to keep up from a server promotion. GTW closed at 16.45, up 1.38 (+9.16%), on strong volume of 3,061,600 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 29.25, a loss of 0.39 (-1.32%), on volume of 50,528,100 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 73, up 0.26 (+0.36%), on strong volume of 47,232,700 shares trading hands.