Apple’s Stock Falls 17% Overnight

Ouch, Appleis stock got socked with a triple whammy. Yesterday, the company guided revenue expectations for the rest of the year lower, stimulating an after-hours sell-off. Today, a combo of tech pessimism and Fed Chairman Greenspanis cautionary tale to Congress sent the broader markets south. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs delivered a MACWORLD Keynote Address with a nary a surprise.

CEO Jobs did announce a number of incremental changes -- iDVD 2, slightly updated G4s and iMacs (but no GHz models) and he previewed Mac OS 10.1, available in September.

Although Apple did beat earnings estimates yesterday with $61 million or $0.17 per share in the third quarter, that was down from $200 million or $0.55 per share in the year ago period. Apple reported sales revenues of $1.475 billion for the third quarter, down 19% from a year ago, and below Wall Streetis consensus estimate of $1.55 billion. Appleis gross margins of 29.4% were only slightly below last yearis 29.8%--better than most analysts had forecast.

Fred Anderson, Appleis CFO, remains confident, "Weire delivering solid profitability while maintaining lean channel inventories in a weak economic environment. Our balance sheet remains very strong, with over $4.2 billion in cash, and we are targeting a slight sequential increase in revenues and earnings per share in the September quarter.ii

It was the "slight sequential increase in revenues" part that sunk the stock. Recent reports that Apple had taken back the K-12 market leadership from Dell had built up some speculation that sales would trend higher faster than the companyis prudent forecast. Bear-weary analysts and investors chose to focus only on Appleis lagging sales revenues for last quarter and the companyis disappointing $3.0 billion revenue guidance for the rest of year, which is down from previous estimates of $3.2 to $3.5 billion.

You can listen to all the details of yesterdayis Q3 conference call using QuickTime 5.0 or todayis webcast of Appleis semi-annual meeting for financial analysts.

As for the first day of Fed Chairman Greenspanis semi-annual testimony before Congress, it was no-win situation for Wall Street. Mr. Greenspan warned "subpar economic performance" will likely continue into next year (thatis bad for equities), which suggests that more Fed Fund rate cuts are in the pipeline (thatis good for equities.) If he had testified that the economic recession was almost over (thatis good), then stocks would have fallen anyway, because Wall Street would have worried that the Federal Reserve wouldnit cut rates again (thatis bad.)

Appleis stock gapped down 4.31 or -17.17% to close at 20.79 on almost triple average volume of 20 million shares trading.

The Nasdaq shed 51 points (-2.47%) to close at 2016, on volume of 1.7 billion shares trading hands.

The Dow lost 36 points (-0.34%) to close at 10569, on volume of 1.28 billion shares. AOL Time-Warneris (AOL) disappointing revenues and Ford Motoris (F) $551 million quarterly loss set the tone for the day.

The S&P 500 lost 6.73 points (-0.55%) to close at 1207.71.

Adobe dropped 1.12 to close at 40.05.

Akamai lost 0.68 to close at 7.96. Akamai reported a $46.8 million loss or -$0.46 per share, thatis better than the $0.50 per share loss forecast. The content delivery firm managed to grow sales to $43.1 million from $40.2 million last quarter and up from $18.1 million (137.8% increase) from the second quarter of 2000.

IBM lost 4.25 to close at 104.28. IBM reported earnings of $2 billion or $1.15 per share matching forecasts and 8.0% better than a year ago quarter, but revenues came in lighter than expected at $21.6 billion, about a billion bucks below forecasts and off by 5.0% from the year ago period.

Macromedia lost 0.83 to close at 16.72.

Motorola shed 0.53 to close at 117.58.

Dell dipped 1.54 to close at 27.20. CNET News reported that Dell would market, "network switches to small and medium-sized businesses in its third fiscal quarter, beginning in August. It will market the switches under the brand name PowerConnect." Meanwhile, Dell announced itis shipping Red Hat Linux 7.1 factory installed on servers and workstations.

Gateway lost 0.34 to close at 15.47.

Compaq dropped 0.15 to close at 15.66.

Intel lost 1.01 to close at 28.89.

Microsoft lost 1.25 to close at 70.57. Microsoft announced that Windows XP will not come with built-in support for Sun Microsystemsi Java platform in an attempt to knock Java off the average useris computer. Goldman Sachs expects Microsoft to lower its previous 2002 revenue guidance of $29 billion when company reports tomorrow, but the brokerage firm doesnit believe the appeals court will block the release of Windows XP in Microsoftis antitrust case.

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.

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