Blue Chips Rally, Techs Show Gains, Apple Adds 2.9%

Stocks performed well today, especially the Blue Chips which helped rally the Dow more than 165 points. The Nasdaq saw mixed trading throughout the day, but pulled out a small gain in afternoon trading. Volume was light throughout the tech industry as many investors sat on the sidelines. Most of the action was in the aforementioned Blue Chips as those stocks are currently considered safe. The worrying factor for tech industry fans? That nasty word, the ieconomy." When will it recover? How are corporate profits? Those are the questions that are still on many tradersi minds. The man with the answer is:

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is scheduled to deliver his semi-annual state-of-the-economy speech to the congress tomorrow. Democrats are tense that Mr. Greenspan has done a 180 on his tax cut stance since Former president Bill Clinton was in office, and they are reportedly feeling betrayed. The Republicans are sitting with Cheshire grins on their faces for the same reason. Both parties will be listening for a hint as to whether the Fed will be continuing to lower interest rates, and the Fed Chairman will spend his entire time before the congress studiously avoiding offering any hints. Itis a delicate game made more complicated by the fact that Mr. Greenspan has to trod carefully lest he spook the markets in either direction, and the fact that both parties have a vested political interest in laying blame for the current economic turmoil at the feet of the other party.

Napster got a big does of bad news today as the appeals court hearing their appeal issued a ruling that largely went against the file trading service. Napster is not a public company, but they have many investors, competitors, and peer-companies that are. was up on heavy volume; the stock closed at 4 19/32, a gain of 11/32 (+8.09%) on volume of 2,762,200.

Apple posted a strong gain on very light volume, something that is usually seen as not being all that convincing to traders. The company is heading into the pre-MACWORLD hype period that usually precedes the various Expos around the world. MACWORLD Tokyo will be held on February 22nd through the 24th and the company is expected to release new iMac models that include CD-RW drives. Speculation and hype often affect Appleis stock, but that has been less noticeable during the two most recent MACWORLD events, MACWORLD SF this past January, and MACWORLD NY this past July. The release of Mac OS X is 39 days away as well, and this is something that has been increasingly heralded as Appleis future and salvation. Upside Today offered a nice feature on OS X to this effect. The long and the short of all this background information is that there was no specific news about Apple to effect todayis trading with the possible exception of the posting of Appleis SEC Form 10-Q at EDGAR Online. The stock posted again, but remained below the US$20 mark.

Apple closed at 19 11/16, a gain of 9/16 (+2.94%) on very light volume of 4,894,100 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2489.63, up 18.66 (+0.76%).

The Dow closed at 10946.77, up 165.32 (+1.53%).

The S&P 500 made it a hat trick by closing at 1330.17, a gain of 15.41 (+1.17%).

Akamai closed at 24 15/16, a gain of 1/2 +2.05% on very light volume of 1,372,600 on volume of 1,760,800 shares trading hands. Apple is a major shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe announced a new consumer photo editing package today. The companyis stock posted a strong gain by closing at 37 7/8, up 2 1/2 (+7.07%) on volume of 4,152,800 shares trading hands.

IBM is at the beginning of what might be a hard PR blow. A new book titled IBM and the Holocaust was released today, and that book says that IBMis machines and technicians were involved in the holocaust. Pop goes the lawsuit, which was filed this weekend on behalf of Holocaust survivors. The stock traded higher today to close at 114.90, a gain of 2.90 (+2.59%) on light volume of 6,674,000 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 19.37, a gain of 0.47 (+2.49%) on light volume of 9,886,300 shares trading hands.

Earthlink saw rumors of a Microsoft buyout gain steam today. Hooray for ELNK investors, too bad for Earthlinkis customers, including Apple and hundreds of thousands of Mac users. Earthlink was upgraded by Sands Bros. from a Neutral to a Buy. Conversely, FAC/Eqts First Albany downgraded the stock from a Buy to a Neutral. The stock closed higher today at 9 31/32, a strong gain of 23/32 (+7.77%) on volume some 8 times normal with 10,219,600 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 19.60, up 0.85 (+4.53%) on very light volume of 1,371,400 shares trading hands.

Dell bucked the upward trend and closed at 23 1/4, a small loss of 1/4 (-1.06%) on light volume of 28,646,600 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard closed lower at 32.60, a loss of 0.90 (-2.69%) on light volume of 6,213,900 shares trading hands.

Intel posted a gain to close at 34 9/16, up by 1 1/16 (+3.17%) on very light volume of 30,472,300 shares trading hands.

Microsoft blessed the PC world again today with the benefits of VBscript viruses today as a virus masquerading as an image of Anna Kournikova blasted its way through Outlook directories around the world. The stock closed lower at 58 3/4, a loss of 3/8 (-0.63%) on light volume of 35,640,000 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.