Ho-Hum Markets Leave Apple A Nickel Shy

Amazon was the word of the day as the online retailer reported earnings that were 8 cents better than expected, just under 25% of the 30 cents per share loss that was expected. The company posted US$665 million in revenue, while Wall Street had expected revenues of US$669 million. The stock closed at 11.18, a gain of 2.81 (+33.57%) on almost triple the normal volume with 23,392,100 shares trading hands. Sounds like the main ingredient in sparking a tech rally, no? The answer today was "sort of," but ti wasnit enough to sustain a rally. According to a Reuters report:

"Investors really have very little conviction, and very little confidence that any of these rallies will hold, particularly in the face of a quiet Federal Reserve and a rather noisy earnings announcement period coming up," said Ned Riley, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

A subtle background effect on trading is the April 16th deadline for filing taxes. Many investors may be liquidating some of their holdings to pay taxes between now and the 16th deadline. That could easily maintain a strong, but subtle, downward pressure on stocks between now and the filing deadline.

That said, if there were hordes of IRS fearing investors trying to unload their shares by the truckload, it didnit reflect in todayis volume. Both indexes traded in very light volumes with the Dow not cresting a billion shares, a rare occurrence, while the Nasdaq barely topped 1.4 billion, an equally rare occurrence. Still, both the Dow and the Nasdaq, as well as the S&P ended the day in positive territory, though the lack of volume suggests no one will care.

Tech stocks closed mixed, and this included the stocks we track in the Stock Watch. All the hardware makers except Dell closed lower, while the software companies we track closed higher. Motorola got an upgrade from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, who raised the stocks rating from an Outperform to a Strong buy. This move largely comes because MOT has been hammered mercilessly for the past few weeks. Motorola will be reporting the March quarteris results tomorrow, after the bell. Motorola went nowhere really fast today, to close unchanged. Volume was triple normal volume.

Apple started the day in positive territory, and stayed there until a little after 1:00 PM EST. At that point, Apple followed the rest of the markets south, and bobbed up and down above Fridayis close a few times before closing lower by a nickel. Volume was just shy of half normal.

Apple closed at 20.54, down a nickel (-0.24%), on very light volume of 4,760,400 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 1745.71, a gain of 25.35 (+1.47%), on volume of 1,450,352,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 9845.15, a gain of 54.06 (+0.55%), on volume of 997,997,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1137.59, up 9.16 (+0.81%).

Akamai closed at 7.13, a loss of 0.0888 (-1.23%), on volume of 2,042,700 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed higher, posting a strong gain, at 35.83, a rise of 1.78 (+5.23%), on light volume of 3,635,500 shares trading hands.

IBM closed at 96.00, down 1.95 (-1.99%), on light volume of 9,486,600 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 11.50, unchanged, on triple normal volume with 37,408,800 shares trading hands.

Earthlink closed higher at 11.74, a gain of 0.4275 (+3.78%), on very light volume of 583,200 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed lower at 14.65, a loss of 4 cents (-0.27%), on light volume of 1,391,700 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 24.89, a gain of 0.0775 (+0.31%), on light volume of 32,238,700 shares trading hands.

Intel took a hit after Solomon Smith Barney made some cautious comments about both Intel and AMD. INTC closed at 23.2, a loss of 0.4250 (-1.80%), on heavy volume of 60,534,300 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 57.15, a gain of 0.9625 (+1.71%), on light volume of 28,147,000 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.