Markets Rebound, Sky Doesn't Fall, & Apple Gains 5%

Bouncy, Trouncy, Flouncy, Pouncy, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun. Thatis really a fairly good summation of todayis market, as stocks bounced off of several days of losses that culminated in yesterdayis precipitous drop like Tigger on a particularly "springy" day. We might need to throw in some other words like "trepidation," and "worries continued about whether a true bottom has been found," but thatis just nit-picking, isnit it? A Reuters story put it nicely:

"Whenever you have a collapse in prices like we had in the last two or three days, there are bargains and the bottom fishers come in," said Al Kugel, investment strategist at fund manager Stein, Roe & Farnham.

"Thereis an awful lot of money around waiting for some kind of sign from on high that itis OK to buy," he said. "Unfortunately, we had three or four false starts, so people are still a little bit wary."

This adds to the atmosphere, from another Reuters article:

"The market was grossly overvalued a year ago and it has now dropped to what we think are reasonable valuations, but it is not cheap yet," said James Oberweis, president and portfolio manager of Oberweis Asset Management, which manages $300 million.

Speculation on a cut in interest rates from the Fed has shifted from whether or not we would get a cut ahead of next weekis Fed meeting on March 20th to how recent economic data from February would effect whatever rate cut would be coming at that meeting. In other words, traders may have finally stopped worrying about getting an inter-meeting cut. In addition, there have been no major earnings warnings issued this week (so far), and Cisco has announced a stock buy-back plan, often a sign of having reached a bottom. Though analysts are mixed on this subject, the end result was that the Nasdaq bounded back up above the psychologically important support level of 2000, while the Dow found support at 10,100 to close at just under 10,300. Both indexes traded in the same moderately strong volumes as yesterdayis bear session.

Tech stocks benefitted the most as many of the other sectors still showed concerns over market conditions, and technology seemed to be a more or less de facto recipient of money related to bargain hunting. Yesterdayis sea of red that the stocks we track were swimming in has been swept aside as if Moses came strolling along with some spare time on his hands. All of the stocks we track closed higher, many with double digit gains.

Apple was included in the rally, and gained some 5%, not enough to erase yesterdayis losses or to bump the stock back above the US$20 level. AAPL opened up in positive territory, and stayed there except for a brief dip in late morning trading. The dayis range was 18 3/16 - 19 9/16, and the stock traded in moderately strong volume. The stock again hovers just over the 50-daymoving average. There was an interesting report from Reuters about Steve Jobsi stock option compensation package.

Apple closed at 19 9/16, a gain of 15/16 (+5.03%), on moderately strong volume of 7,913,100 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2014.80, a strong gain of 91.42 (+4.75%), on volume of 2,101,215,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10289.83, up 81.58 (+0.80%), on volume of 1,359,670,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1197.57, up 17.41 (+1.47%).

Akamai was downgraded by Banc of America Securities from a Buy to a Market Perform based on "decreasing traffic trends." Despite, or because, of this, the stock traded higher to close at 11 3/8, a strong gain of 15/16 (+8.98%), on strong volume of 3,538,700shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed higher at 27 3/8, a gain of 1 3/8 (+5.29%), on light volume of 3,540,000 shares trading hands.

IBM rose today on strength of being a huge massive company that makes enormous amounts of money. The stock closed at 98.39, a gain of 2.90 (+3.04%), on strong volume of 12,127,700 shares trading hands.

Motorola announced more layoffs in their telecommunications division. The company will be laying off 7,000 employees. MOT closed at 15.20, a gain of 0.20 (+1.33%), on strong volume of 15,361,400 shares trading hands.

Earthlink closed at 10 3/4, a gain of 1 3/32 (+11.33%), on heavy volume of 4,501,100 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 15.90, a gain of 0.74 (+4.88%), on volume of 2,675,600 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 23 15/16, up 1 7/8 (+8.50%), on volume of 36,879,600 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard closed at 31.60, a gain of 1.72 (+5.76%), on light volume of 6,255,000 shares trading hands.

Intel closed higher at 29 5/16, a gain of 1 9/16 (+5.63%), on strong volume of 52,010,900 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 54 1/4, a gain of 2 5/16 (+4.45%), on strong volume of 45,495,000 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.