Alan Greenspan & The Hand Of God Send Stocks (& Apple) Tumbling

An Earthquake rocked the Northwest US today, as the 6.8 Magnitude (Richter Scale) quake smacked Seattle. Some might suggest that someone was voicing their opinion on the Microsoft trial, but thereis scant, if any, evidence of that. Seriously though, we are happy to relay that as of press time, there were no fatalities reported, which is remarkable considering the population density of the Seattle area and the force of the quake. CNBC is reporting that some 22 people have been taken to the hospital in serious or critical condition. Microsoft has reported some gas leaks and other related damage to their facilities, and there have been DNS problems as far north as Canada as a result. CBS Marketwatch ran a report earlier today on several public companies located in the Seattle area. The Mac Observer wishes everyone effected by the earthquake the best of luck in dealing with the situation.

The big news for the financial world was Fed Chairman Alan Greenspanis testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in the Testimony Formerly Known As Humphrey-Hawkins. The markets have gone up and down on a roller coaster ride as popular opinion swayed first one way, and then the other on whether or not the Fed would lower rates in advance of the next Fed meeting on March 20th. Mr. Greenspan sorely disappointed Wall Street when his testimony today gave absolutely no indication that this was to be the case. The message was that near-term outlooks remains cautious, while the last half of 2001 should see improvements in the economy. Mr. Greenspan was grilled from House members wanting to advance his or her own agenda regarding paying off the debt and/or decreasing taxes.

The markets reacted very negatively to Mr. Greenspanis testimony as soon as he got to the part about being cautious about the near term future. The major indexes began a steep descent that didnit let up until the last hour before the closing bell when several stocks tried to rally. Tech stocks performed almost universally bad, including almost all of the stocks we track. The Nasdaq hit a two year low, and closed out February down 22%, one of the worst performing months of all time.

Apple fared poorly today, closing 1/8 of a point above the lows for the day. The stock never got to within 1/8 point of yesterdayis close, and shed more than 5% of its value. The dayis trading range was 18 1/8 - 19 7/16. AAPL is getting close to testing its 50 day moving average, a key support level. Apple has traded above the 50 day moving average since late in December, while it has traded below the 200 day moving average since the stock dropped like a rock in October of 2000. Volume was strong.

Apple closed at 18 1/4, a loss of 1 1/8 (-5.81%), on strong volume of 8,953,000 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2151.83, a loss of 55.99 (-2.54%), on volume of 2,083,808,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10495.28, down 141.60 (-1.33%), on volume of 1,183,861,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1236.81, down 21.13 (-1.68%).

Akamai closed at 16 15/16, another sharp loss of 7/8 (-4.91%) on light volume of 1,617,800 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed at 29 1/16, a loss of 1 7/16 (-4.71%), on strong volume of 8,302,900 shares trading hands.

IBM dipped below its 50 day moving average today, and closed below 100 for the first time since cresting that mark in late January. IBM closed at 99.90, a loss of 2.69 (-2.62%), on strong volume of 11,754,900 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 15.17, a loss of 0.12 (-0.78%), on strong volume of 15,406,400 shares trading hands.

Earthlink announced they were acquiring the subscribers of Netpliance, the makers of the iOpener network appliance. ELNK was one of three gainers in the stocks we track as it closed at 9, a gain of 1/32 (+0.35%), on light volume of 746,200 shares trading hands.

Gateway was the 2nd gainer that we track as traders reacted positively to an analyst meeting held by the company including CEO Ted Waitt. Mr. Waitt made lots of bullish comments during the meeting, the stock rose, and after the bell the company issued a warning. The stock dropped in after hours trading and is likely to be punished tomorrow. Ouch. GTW closed at 17.20, up 0.48 (+2.87%), on strong volume of 3,945,700 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 21 7/8, down 3/8 (-1.69%), on light volume of 32,110,100 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard rounded up our brace of winners as the stock closed at 28.85, a gain of 0.25 (+0.87%), on strong volume of 9,482,100 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 28 9/16, off by 7/16 (-1.51%), on volume of 47,357,300 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 59, down 3/8 (-0.63%), volume of 41,519,900 shares trading hands.

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. You can also check out our Apple Financial Boards, a new moderated forum for Apple Investors and people who are interested in Appleis financial dealings.