Hardware Mixed, But Apple Closes Over 19

Oracle gave an earnings warning after the bell yesterday. The company says that slowing corporate spending has taken a bite out of Oracleis sales, and Apple Board member and Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison said that they were seeing a cutback in existing customer projects. Oracle spun the warning around the slowing economy. Oracle was pummelled in after hours trading yesterday, and the pounding continued throughout todayis session. The company opened up US$5, more than 20% lower, and didnit budge out of a fairly narrow trading range of 15 3/4 - 17 15/16. The stock close at 16 7/8, down 4 1/2 (-21.05%) on a stunning volume of 224,033,600 shares trading hands. Average volume for the stock is about 44 million. Throughout the day, a variety of downgrades smacked the company (way after the fact, so what good are these ratings anyway?) from the likes of Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Smith Barney, Banc of America Securities and J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Oracle had big impact on other software stocks, and the Nasdaq opened up lower across the board. Microsoft, IBM, and Adobe both closed lower, as did most other software stocks. Akamai also too a heavy hit as a company that depends heavily on sales from corporate revenue. SAP and Manuguistics made announcements that reaffirmed their results, and they held steady in the face of heavy selling in other software stocks. The Dow bounced off of a 150 point loss to squeeze out a 16 point gain by the end of the day. The Nasdaq took a 90 point hit early in the session, but unlike the Dow, was only able to recover about 30 points of that and ended the day in the red.

A mixed rally began to gain speed as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan spoke yet again to a House Committee, this time the House Budget Committee. Vague statements, including another classic comment where Mr. Greenspan said that he hoped he hadnit been so clear as to indicate what the Fed was actually going to be doing, helped spark some buying in some sectors.

Computer hardware stocks were among the winners for the day. Dell, Compaq, and Apple all closed higher. Gateway lost 30 cents on the day as they continue to suffer the effects of their earnings warning earlier this week. IBM closed lower, but that was mainly on software concerns stemming from Oracleis warning.

Apple got some positive press from an AP piece that seems to have been picked up by lots of mainstream media outlets. AP reviewed iTunes and published the review under the title "Appleis iTunes Doesnit Disappoint." This was a very positive piece that included glowing comments about Appleis current offerings as well as the quality of Appleis built in sound capabilities going back to the 80is. Good press, gotta love it.

Apple opened up in negative territory along with the rest of the tech world, but by late in the first hour of trading, the stock climbed back up above yesterdayis cresting over 20, and then giving back some ground in the last two hours of trading. The dayis range was 18 1/4 - 20 7/16, and Apple traded in fairly strong volume considering the rules changes from January that changed the way transactions were counted. Apple is still hanging close to its 50 day moving average, but seems to have found support again.

Apple closed at 19 1/4, up a half point (+2.67%), on volume of 7,253,600 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2117.63, down 65.74 (-3.01%), on volume of 2,375,164,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10466.31, a gain of 16.17 (+0.15%), on volume of 1,289,259,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1234.04, down 7.19 (-0.58%).

Akamai was pummeled on fears of slowing corporate spending. AKAM closed at 14 13/16, a loss of 2 3/16 (-12.87%), a loss of 2,376,000 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed at 27 11/16, a loss of 3/8 (-1.34%), on volume of 6,962,500 shares trading hands.

IBM closed at 102.30, a loss of 3.75 (-3.54%), on strong volume of 14,745,500 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 16.79, a gain of 0.86 (+5.40%), on strong volume 19,943,500 shares trading hands.

Earthlink closed at 9 13/16, a strong gain of 13/16 (+9.03%), on strong volume of 3,049,400 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed lower at 15.45, a loss of 0.30 (-1.90%) on strong volume of 5,389,900 shares trading hands.

Dell closed higher at 22 1/16, a gain of 9/16 (+2.62%), on light volume of 35,941,600 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard closed higher at 29.52, a gain of 0.52 (+1.79%), on volume of 8,616,000 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 29 5/16, a gain of 3/16 (+0.64%), on strong volume of 54,623,100 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 56 11/16, a loss of 2 43/64 (-4.50%), on light volume of 39,898,200 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.