High Volume Rally in AAPL!

The stock markets continued their steady climb after yesterdayis Federal Reserve decision to leave interest rates unchanged. Appleis stock ended higher for the fourth day in a row.

Finally, the Federal Reserveis incessant interest rate hikes are over for a while, maybe longer. Perhaps, the markets can rally higher now, but there is not a single day of reprieve from emerging risks on Wall Street. Now we are on energy watch as signs that fuel prices may be beyond anyoneis immediate control mount.

Todayis surprising 12.4% decline in orders for durable good (consumer goods that last 3 or more years) means the economy is slowing and combined with fuel prices that show no signs of abating the soft landing planned by the Feds could be in jeopardy. Or at least thatis the latest worry du jour among investors.

Apple climbed 1 51/64 to close at 56 7/64 on volume of 5.5 million shares trading hands, thatis more than a million shares above the average daily volume. AAPL has been on a roll recently, up $10 in the last 7 trading sessions. But the stock is now entering a tough resistance zone between $57 and $60.

The Nasdaq ended higher by 42 points (1.05%) to close at 4053 on good volume of 1.5 billion shares. The Goldman Sachs Computer Hardware Index ($GHA) was higher today by 1.3%. Biotech stocks ($BTK) are up 80% year to date, 6.85% just today.

The Dow rallied 38 points (0.34%) to close at 11182 on volume of 818 million shares for the best close of the Dow since April. Energy stocks saw some profit taking as analysts said their run is over after rallying all summer.

The S&P 500 rose 2.34 points (0.16%) to close at 1508.31

In Apple related businesses: Akamai lost 4 1/8 to 65 3/16. The stock may have taken a hit on reports that, "America Online (AOL), Inktomi (INKT) and a list of leading content distribution companies, announced a plan Wednesday to link their networks in an effort to speed up Web services -- and lure customers from distribution leader Akamai (AKAM) -- through a new consortium dubbed Content Bridge." But both Akamai and Inktomi should watch their backs, Novell (NOVL) plans to provide an open specification software solution that competes with Akamai and Inktomiis proprietary web content speeding solutions.

Adobe climbed 3 7/16 to 129 1/2. Macromedia announced today that Flash 5 is shipping and available, but their stock declined 1 1/16 to 67 15/16.

Motorola lost 1 1/8 to 35 3/8 after announcing that the 66 Iridium Satellites will be burnt up in the atmosphere starting as early as today. Naturally, the Iridium phone network service will also be terminated today.

IBM climbed 1 9/16 to 124 13/16.

Appleis competitors: Dell gained 5/16 to 39 dollars. Compaq was higher by 1/8 to 33 3/4. Gateway climbed 1 7/16 to 66 dollars. Shares of Intel slipped 3/8 to 74 1/4. Hewlett Packard soared 4 dollars to 119.

Microsoft is getting into the semiconductor business with its new $100 million project to introduce the Solo2 processor for Microsoftis Web TV and other types of set top boxes. Microsoft gained 3/8 to 71 1/8.

In economic news: Durable-goods orders slipped by 12.4% in July, the biggest decline since the Commerce Department began measuring orders in 1958. Just as aircraft and aircraft part sales drove Juneis durable-goods orders higher, accounting for most of that monthis 9.5% gain, a cut back in demand for aircraft and parts led to the unexpectedly large decline in July. Durable-Goods orders are notoriously volatile on a monthly basis.

The Wall Street Journal commented:

The numbers give further indication that economic growth, which heated up in the first and second quarters of the year, is easing. On Tuesday, in explaining its decision to leave interest rates unchanged, the Federal Reserve noted that demand for goods and services "is moderating toward a pace closer to the rate of growth of the economyis potential to produce."

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 Apple Stock Watch Special Report.