Lackluster Rally Helps Out Nasdaq

Some tech stocks got a little boost in weak rally today while the blue chips on Dow extended yesterdayis gains. With only two trading days left in the millennium, traders are hoping for a real rally, if only to save the Nasdaq from posting its worst year ever. Appleis stock continues to tread water in the 14 dollar range.

Mutual funds and other institutional traders have their calculators out as they hurriedly position their portfolio for year end accounting. However, volume isnit expected to pick up as we near the New Year holiday.

The latest tech stock disaster du jour is Network Associates (NETA) which fell 60% after warning it will miss Q4 earnings by a mile and the CEO got the boot. As usual, analysts with perfect 20/20 hindsight hammered the stock with a slew of downgrades.

Media pessimism on the PC sector seems to be peaking this week. Yesterday, Reuters warned of a looming PC price war. Today, ZD Net News claims, "computer sales have been poor over the past few weeks" and predicted a brutal price war.

CNet News reported:

"On Wednesday, Dataquest revised its year-over-year growth projections for PC sales in the United States for 2001 to 12.8 percent from the high teens. The market researcher said desktop shipments are expected to grow at a paltry 11.8 percent next year, while notebook shipments should increase 17 percent. Worldwide PC growth is expected to come in at 16.1 percent in 2001 vs. 2000. Earlier in this year, 20 percent or more growth seemed sustainable, but Dataquest acknowledges that is no longer the case."

Appleis stock climbed 1/8 to 14 13/16 on volume of 5.7 million shares.

The Nasdaq bounced 45 points (1.84%) to close at 2539 on volume of 1.9 billion shares.

Semiconductors stocks bounced nicely today, but the relief didnit extend to most Internet stocks. AOL, for instance, sunk back to levels not seen since January of 1999 today, down 2 3/4 to 35 3/4..

The Dow climbed 110 points (1.04%), adding a fourth day to its rally, to close at 10803 on volume of 1.06 billion shares.

The S&P 500 climbed 13.73 points (1.04%) to close at 1328.92. This was also the fourth day of nice rally for the S&P.

In Apple related businesses: Lehman Brothers issued a report claiming the Internet infrastructure services industry has hit bottom and named Akamai as a good bet for strong long term growth. Akamai gained 1 1/8 to 24 15/16.

IBM said it will soon release a type of "portal software that works with a Web browser to let workers get data used often--through any device." The software is a challenge to Microsoft since it can work without the Windows operating system. Big Blue lost 1/8 to 84 11/16.

Dell rallied 1/2 to 18 dollars. Gateway climbed 0.47 to 18.49. Compaq gained 0.42 to 15.99

Whoops, a bug that Intel said delayed the introduction of the Pentium 4 is still there and is degrading the chipis performance when processing graphical data through a PCI bus. Intel fell 5/16 to 32 9/16.

Microsoft is down 60% for year as the stock fell 7/16 to 46 7/16.

In economic news: The index of leading economic indicators declined 0.2% in November to 105.3 as expected by economists. The index, which indicates the strength of the U.S. economy going forward, has fallen in 8 of the last 10 months.

Tomorrow, Wall Street will closely watch the consumer confidence index for signs that shoppers are planning to spend less in 2001.

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.