Apple's Stock Closes Up 2% On Positive Comments From Hedge-Fund Manager, BusinessWeek

Apple had a strong day today, in part due to some positive comments on the companyis future in BusinessWeek. In an article by Gene Marcial called "Sweeter at Apple?," an unnamed hedge-fund manager is quoted as saying he expects rising sales this month, and cites Appleis retail performance and the iPod. He also suggests that Macs purchased five years ago will lead to an upgrade swing for Apple. There were additional comments from other analysts, as well. From the report:

Still, some pros believe Apple will kick higher starting this month. Says one hedge-fund manager who has been buying: "Any uptick in sales [which he expects soon] will catapult the stock back to the mid-20s." An upgrading of computers bought about five years ago will help push sales up, he says. Traffic at Apple Stores has been good, he notes, aided by new products, including iPod, an MP3 player.

Few analysts are high on Apple, but Charles Wolf of Needham, who rates the stock a buy, says the companyis foray into retail mall outlets has attracted visitors at a "rapid pace." He expects Apple to earn 40 cents a share in 2003, vs. Thomson First Call consensus of 24 cents.

Kevin Hunt of Thomas Weisel Partners says the stock, at the low end of its historic range and cheaper than its peers, is attractive long-term. "Apple is poised to reemerge as a growth story once overall PC spending resumes," he says.

This helped push Appleis stock up more than 2% in moderate volume. Apple closed at 14.95, a gain of 0.32 (+2.19%), on volume of 4,388,764 shares trading hands. Apple traded as high as 15.19, but profit taking brought the stock back down below 15.

The Broader Markets

Appleis climb was arm-in-arm with other tech stocks, as the entire sector experienced a rally. Qualcomm raised its forecasts on its own wireless chip shipment, and IBM announced it was buying Rational Software for more than US$2 billion. That helped counter yesterdayis unemployment numbers, a rise to 6%, that had everyone on edge.

At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 8,645.77, up 22.49 (+0.26%). The S&P 500 closed higher at 912.23, a gain of 5.69 (+0.63%), and the NASDAQ Composite Index closed up at 1,422.44, higher by 11.69 (+0.83%).

Other Apple News

Apple announced today that it had served its millionth unique customer at the online Apple Store this week. See our full coverage for more information.

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