Economic Signs Bring Dow Boost, Apple Gains 2.8%

The markets closed mixed today, with the Dow on the plus side and the Nasdaq trading lower, but the stocks we track in the Stock Watch mostly closed higher. The June National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) index was released today, and the data show that the manufacturing decline may be easing. The June index was reported at 44.7% which was above Mayis 42.1% and above the expected 42.7% as well. The NAPM index measures the utilization of manufacturing capacity in the US. The report helped to boost stocks, as traders interpreted the news as a further indication that the economy may be rebounding. From a CBS Marketwatch report:

"The June NAPM posted its strongest rise since early 1999. The index bounced above the level typically associated with recessions, although it failed to rise above the 50-mark that would suggest an upturn in factory output," observed Maury Harris, UBS Warburgis chief U.S. economist.

"The rebound suggests that the inventory adjustment is easing, permitting a slower pace of production cutbacks. The continued factory contraction likely sustains risks that the Fed will ease one last time at the August FOMC meeting," Harris concluded.

Volume was light across the board as pre-July 4th holiday slackerness kept some traders away. The Nasdaq traded 1.5 billion shares, and the Dow traded some 1.1 billion shares.

Industry News

Compaq has announced it is moving production of its desktop computers to Taiwan, away from California.

Apple Industry News

ZDNet is reporting that Oracle has officially announced a Mac OS X client for its 9i enterprise level database suite. The article says that Oracle will first release a client for its older 8i database solution, but that a fully supported 9i client is in the works. From the article:

According to Bob Shimp, senior director of Oracle 9i database marketing, however, the software wonit immediately match the features available for other OSes. "The Mac client will provide programmatic connectivity to Oracle databases but will not provide any client tools (executables) such as SQL*Plus," he said. "As such, it is not a full client like that on [Microsoft] Windows."

Shimp said that an "unsupported, early adopter version" based on the companyis client code base will be available late in the third quarter of 2001. He added that Oracle is planning on releasing a production version, based on code, before the end of the year.

This is a major boost for Appleis Mac OS X as a corporate platform, and offers Apple its first big foot in the door for that world since Mac OS X was released. Apple released an update to AppleWorks for Mac OS X today as well.

Prudential Securities analyst Kimberly Alexy issued some comments about Apple saying the company might miss top-line (total revenue) forecasts. According to Observer Pete (we have not confirmed this), Ms. Alexy also said that Appleis earnings could be better than expected due to sales of high-margin products. Thanks to Observer Pete for the info.

Apple traded higher today, despite a last second plunge into negative territory that was quickly popped back up (meaning it was most likely a single trade). AAPL opened higher, and trended higher throughout the day, hitting a high of +.98 cents. The last hour saw the stock shed 33 cents of that gain. The stock traded on very light volume of only 4.1 million shares. The dayis trading range was 23.14 - 24.23.

Apple closed at 23.90, up 0.65 (+2.80%), on very light volume of 4,072,500 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2148.72, down 11.82 (-0.55%), on volume of 1,516,712,000 trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10593.72, up 91.32 (+0.87%), on volume of 1,111,507,000 trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1236.71, up 12.29 (+1.00%).

Adobe closed at 46.95, down a nickel (-0.11%), on light volume of 3,218,300 shares trading hands.

Akamai insiders and major shareholders continue to sell off the stock. AKAM closed at 8.70, down 0.475 (-5.18%), on light volume of 1,633,200 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink closed at 14.54, up 0.44 (+3.12%), on strong volume of 2,729,600 shares trading hands.

IBM is eliminating 1,000 consulting positions within the company, though the affected workers will have the opportunity to work elsewhere at IBM. IBM closed at 114.35, up 1.35 (+1.19%), on light volume of 5,799,400 shares trading hands.

Macromedia will be delivering the Flashforward 2001 keynote (big surprise, and all). MACR closed at 18.05, up a nickel (+0.28%), on light volume of 881,700 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 16.77, up 0.21 (+1.27%), on volume of 12,569,300 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 26.87, up 0.72 (+2.75%), on light volume of 24,856,200 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 15.95, a loss of 4 bits (-3.04%), on volume of 2,103,300 shares trading hands.

Intel is shipping 1.8 GHz Pentium 4s. INTC closed at 30.06, up 0.81 (+2.77%), on light volume of 38,412,900 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 70.60, a loss of 2.40 (-3.29%), on light volume of 34,354,200 shares trading hands.

<!--#include virtual="/includes/newsite/series/stockwatch.shtml"-->