Markets End The Day Higher, Apple Loses 2 Cents

The markets rallied today, sort of. All three major indexes closed in positive territory, and thatis close enough to a continuation of this weekis rally for most investors. Investors and analysts alike chose to look at Dellis earnings report, which met lowered expectations, but lowered guidance for the 2nd quarter, as a half-empty glass. That didnit keep investors from starting a late-session buying spree that recovered ground lost to an afternoon slump. Those gains didnit come in the tech sector, however, as tech companies were weighed down by not only Dellis warnings, but also by a warning from Palm. That company warned that their revenues for the current quarter were going to come in at half of current expectations. The company also said they would take a US$300 million inventory write-down. Ouch. What should have been a further drag on stocks across the board was the announcement that the USis April trade deficit increased by 3.2%. Thatis a big chunk of the 5.4% drop that was reported in February, but it didnit seem to phase investors today. From a Reuters report:

"Thereis hope and skepticism out there," said Kevin Logan, senior market economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. "Lots of people feel the economy is due for a turnaround and are looking for a bargain. But on the other hand, some are thinking thereis going to be more bad news."

Robert Dickey, a technical strategist with Dain Rauscher, added:

"There does not have to be much in the way of a pullback in order for the market to move higher, as the trading range action of the previous three weeks did much to relieve the short-term overbought condition. Now that the Dow is through resistance at 11,000 and the Nasdaq is also close to breaking out, the bigger risk seems to be in missing further short-term gains," commented Robert Dickey, technical strategist at Dain Rauscher.

"The market itself will be the likely catalyst for [additional] enthusiasm, as there is little to get excited about in stocks over the near-term on either an economic or a fundamental basis. As the indexes rise, confidence will grow and more of the buying will shift back into tech stocks, many of which are just at the beginning of some better upside moves," Dickey concluded.

Tech stocks didnit fare as well as other sectors. Most of the stocks we track in the Stock Watch closed lower. Volume was also light again today, countering two days of very strong volume. Appleis stocks traded at some of the lowest levels in the almost two years we have been writing the Apple Stock Watch. The stock traded less than 3 million shares, while average volume is 7.67 million shares. Other Stock Watch stocks also saw light volume. The Dow itself traded just over 1.1 billion shares, while the Nasdaq traded fewer than 1.8 billion shares.

The Motley Fool published an analysis of Dellis price war that questions whether the tactic is working. Since Dellis volume is up along with their market share, we find it tough to question that aspect of their strategy. The fact that their profits are flat and that they have had to lay off thousands of workers in the midst of increasing volume lends credit to the Foolsi piece.

Speaking of Michael Dell, he took the opportunity to make a few swipes at Steve Jobs and Apple in an interview on yesterdayis Business Center on CNBC. We have a full report, a lovely analysis, and an engaging conversation in the comments.

Metrowerks announced that they would be delivering what they are calling an Early Access CD of their upcoming Mac OS X tools.

Apple traded down by 2 pennies in very light volume. The stock spent the entire day except for one brief spike in early afternoon trading when it *just* crested into positive territory. The stock participated in the late afternoon rally, bringing the stock to just within the yesterdayis close. The dayis range was 23.12 - 23.64.

Apple closed at 23.53, a loss of 2 pennies (-0.08%), on remarkably light volume of 2,843,000 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2198.88, up 5.20 (+0.24%), on volume of 1,793,645,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 11301.74, up 53.16 (+0.47%), on volume of 1,113,704,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1291.96, up 3.47 (+0.27%).

Adobe closed at 42.51, a low of 1.09 (-2.50%), on very light volume of 2,209,300 shares trading hands.

Akamaiis executive VP is selling off another 100,000 shares in his company. AKAM closed at 10.01, a loss of 0.28 (-2.72%), on light volume of 2,004,900 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink closed at 13.03, down 0.37 (-2.76%), on light volume of 1,602,800 shares trading hands.

IBM is buying back some 10.2 million preferred shares. Go IBM. The stock closed at 117.44, up 2.37 (+2.06%), on light volume of 6,714,900 shares trading hands.

Macromediais closed at 22.59, a strong gain of 1.68 (+8.03%), on volume of 1,226,800 shares trading hands.

Motorola trading US$60 million to Next Level in exchange for warrants that would entitle the company to a bigger stake. MOT closed at 15.60, a gain off 4 cents +0(.26%), on very light volume of 6,119,300 shares trading hands.

Dell met expectations after yesterdayis closing bell. AP has a report if you missed ours. DELL closed at 24.79, down 1.09 (-4.21%), on volume of 38,561,300 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 18.65, a loss of 0.35 (-1.84%), on light volume of 1,671,000 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 28.76, a gain of 0.16 (+0.56%), on light volume of 34,849,800 shares trading hands.

Microsoft blah blah blah Xbox blah, E3 blah blah. MSFT closed at 68.09, a loss of 0.0798 (-0.12%), on strong volume of 45,433,400 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.