In The Pre-Holiday Drift on Wall Street Apple's Stock Can't Find Traction

There were a few tech stock bright spots on Tuesday, but the lack of any resolution to the presidential election, as well as to the Nasdaqis most recent retest of its 52-week lows, has left investors in shortened-trading-week-limbo with little reason to commit ahead of the long Thanksgiving Day weekend in the U.S.

Nevertheless, it was a busy day for the tech stocks. Lucent (LU) said it will subtract $125 million off its previously reported earnings due to an accounting error. The bad news sent the network equipment makeris stock to levels not seen since January of 1998. Meanwhile, Nortel (NT), Lucentis Canadian competitor, promised it will —unlike Lucent —meet its forecast for $0.26 per share on revenue of $8.5 billion.

Yahoois stock is doing even worse than Appleis as shares of YHOO plunged to new 2-year lows, because respected Internet analysts and investors alike are worrying about Yahoois Internet advertising revenue going forward. Yahoois woes weighed on the already deflated dot coms, which continue to search for a bottom.

Whatis with all the top brass changing jobs lately? Yesterday, a top manager ditched Oracle. Today, custom chipmaker LSI Logic (LSI) lost two key executives, "including one who was seen as the possible successor to company founder and chief executive Wilfred Corrigan," according to C/NET News.

Agilent, (A) a recent HP spin-off, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit more than doubled beating estimates of $0.51 with earnings of $0.66 per share. Apparently, some tech stocks in certain sectors are seeing no slow down in growth in spite of falling demand in other areas of the economy.

Appleis stock dipped 1/8, or -0.66%, to close at 18 13/16 on volume of 5.3 million shares.

Macworld said, "Apple is facing a legal challenge from a seven-strong industry group claiming the company has infringed a video-compression-technology copyright." The article claims that although no lawsuit against Apple has been filed, the group has entered litigation with Compaq and that, "letters have been dispatched to Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell asking the companies to acquire licenses for the patents."

The Nasdaq shed 4 points in volatile trading to close at 2871 for the second 52-week low in as many days on volume of 1.7 billion shares. The Nasdaq has ended in the red 10 out of the last 12 trading days.

The Dow attempted a rally, but settled for a gain of only 31 points to close at 10494 on volume of 1.1 million shares.

The S&P 500 climbed 4.69 points (0.35%) to close at 1347.31.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai fell 1 1/2 to 36 1/16, barely a dollar from AKAMis all time low. Adobe rallied 4 bucks to 80 dollars.

Earthlink gave back 1/2 to 7 7/8 after yesterdayis big bounce on news that Time Warner is opening up its cable system to Earthlinkis service.

IBM lost 4 3/4 to 98 1/2 as investors have second thoughts about their CEOis big divestment of part of his stake in IBM at about $100 per share "for tax purposes."

Hewlett Packard said its Asia Pacific business is up 40% and growing sales faster than any other region for HP. Hewlett Packard lost 5/8 to 33 15/16.

Bloomberg News also reported Compaq is experiencing a similar rapid growth pattern in the Asia Pacific region with sales expanding by 41%. According to the article, "Compaqis sales gain from companies that need more powerful server computers to run the Internet become key as the number of online users expands in the region. Market researcher IDC predicts online users in Asia outside of Japan to increase 34 percent each year to reach 95 million in 2004." Compaq lost 0.30 to close at 24.05.

In economic news: The trade deficit unexpectedly widened by 3.1% in September as the Americais appetite for computer products, aircraft, communication equipment and raw materials remains healthy. The seasonally adjusted $34 billion trade deficit represents the latest extension of the long term trend of a widening U.S. trade gap.

"The deficit with China expanded sharply, to $8.72 billion from $8.6 billion, to the largest on record with any country., noted the Wall Street Journal. "The gap was widened by increased shipments of Chinese automobile parts, telecommunications equipment and toys."

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.