A Discouraged Nasdaq Falls as the Dow Rallies

The Nasdaq braced itself for more earnings warnings and weak holiday sales, but the Dow fearlessly rallied as investors bet the Federal Reserve will shift their tight money bias into neutral. AAPL tried to rally without much luck.

The tech stock disaster du jour is EToys (ETYS) which announced weak holiday sales will push the ailing Internet retailer into bankruptcy by March.

ABN AMRO actually slapped an extremely rare "sell" rating on the stock, even though they put an "outperform" rating on EToys just 6 months ago at $7 a share. EToys fell 72% today to 9/32 per share.

Appleis stock climbed 3/16 or 1.33% to 14 1/4 on volume of 5.8 million shares. The stock opened higher at 14 1/2 but couldnit make head way in the pessimistic climate of the day.

MacWeek.comis part three of "The Armchair Quarterback" series quotes Charles Wolf, Apple analyst at Warburg Dillon Read:

"Apple is simply hoping to get through this current quarter as unscathed as possible. Theyire hoping these price cuts, rebates and sales staff incentives will spur sales that otherwise might not have come this year but instead next year. Sure, theyire thinking of next year and their current problems will have a profound effect on what they decide to do, but I think they are having to live one quarter at a time and figure out how to get through the here and now."

A Motley Fool article gathered together a number of opinions on the PC sales slowdown and concludes that although the decelerating economy is particularly hurting consumer companies, "some technology sectors are more insulated from an economic slowdown. Information technology infrastructure spending is likely to remain strong. Infrastructure spending is not immune to an economic meltdown, but its importance in the Internet economy ensures that it will remain at the top of the list of IT budgets."

The Nasdaq lost 28 points (-1.08%) to close at 2624 on volume of 2 billion shares. Cisco (CSCO) hit a new 52-week low, falling over 10% to 42 15/16, but still sports a bloated P/E ratio well above 100.

The number of declining stocks to advancing ones continues climb, while other market indicators point to a strong possibility that the Nasdaq may set new lows in the 3200 range according to technical analysts.

The Dow soared 210 points (2.02%) to close at 10645 on volume of 1.1 billion shares.

The S&P 500 climbed 10.59 points (0.81%) to close at 1322.74.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai shed 2 5/16 to 31 dollars. Adobe gained 1 1/8 to 63 9/16. IBM gained 2 11/16 to 90 1/2.

Dell is experiencing shipping delays with its top consumer PC and laptop models. Some consumers are reporting delays of 6-weeks on orders placed in November, according to C/NET News. Dell fell 3/8 to 19 1/2. Gateway fell 1.60 to 17.40.

Motorola said the company, "has been awarded business in the handheld consumer device market to provide an estimated six to eight million units of new products (energy supply systems) to an existing OEM customer." MOT lost 3/16 to 19 1/4.

Sun Microsystems was downgraded today on fears that the enterprise server market is going soft. Sun lost 1 7/8 to 28 9/16 to a new 52-week low. But Oracle climbed 12% to 32 dollars as the software giant announced an anticipated update to its 9i database product.

Yet another Microsoft top executive, Joachim Kempin, is bailing out of Redmond. Mr. Kempin was charged with Microsoftis relations with other computer companies. MSFT fell 1 3/8 to 47 13/16.

In economic news: All eyes are on the Federal Reserveis FOMC meeting tomorrow to decide what to do with the prime lending rate as we move into 2001. The convention wisdom is that the Fed will change their bias to neutral from a tightening , but will not lower interest rates this month. Although, a Wall Street Journal article today predicts they will lower rates tomorrow.

Fed futures have priced in about a 90% chance of interest rate cuts in early 2001. Some analysts believe 75 points in rate cuts are possible by July 2001.

For full quotes on all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. For other stories regarding Appleis stock activity, visit our updated Apple Stock Watch Special Report.