Markets Tank, But No One Cares. Apple Down Again

Woe be to investors: the economy still hasnit died. Yesterdayis strong April Retail Sales data which showed a strong 0.8% increase combined with todayis Michigan Sentiment reading for May to make investors paranoid that interest rates might not get the axe at next weekis Fed meeting on May 15th. The Michigan Sentiment reading came in at 92.6, much higher than the consensus estimates of 88.5, and also much higher than Aprilis 88.4 reading. The chorus began ringing out from the throats of investors and analysts everywhere, "Hey, all this damned good data is totally getting in the way of our gloomy outlook! Sell!" Those wacky investors. From a Reuters report:

"Itis a confused market out there. Investors donit know what to root for. All the data today make it less likely to get a 50-basis-point cut next week," said Uri Landesman, chief investment officer with AFA Management Partners, referring to the Fedis policy-setting meeting on Tuesday. "I think you will get it anyway, but it reduces the likelihood of it."

Down went the stocks, one , two , three. Techs, blue chips, energy, all fell before the mighty swath of apathy that todayis news brought with it. The Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P all closed lower, but volume was so anemic, the doctors were considering blood transfusions. The Nasdaq didnit reach 1.5 billion shares trading hands, and the Dow didnit see the north side of 900 million shares trading hands. That hasnit happened in a long time.

Tony Dwyer of Kirlin Securities, however, sees todayis market loss as a mere hiccup. From a Reuters report:

"We had a momentum market for a month, where the market was up at historic levels in a one-month period," said Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Kirlin Securities, referring to an April rally in the market. "I think we are getting some profit taking right now, there is a lack of follow through. Itis kind of wait and see."

Microsoft officially announced their new software leasing policies for their corporate customers. The snuck it in after the marketis close and after most journalists have gone home. Hopefully, the new policy will finally wake up the Wintel Hordes from their Great Sleep and get them to open their eyes. This is such a bogus move, itis impossible to convey it in words. Wait, your author spent the last two days doing just that in a column published this morning. Investors should be aware that if the Justice Department, or rather the Appeals Court hearing their anti-trust case fully grasps this move, it will be undeniable that the company has monopoly power. Be careful.

Apple was hammered by an article in by Thomas Lepris. That article uses a bit of numbers chicanery to dis Apple. We have a full report and analysis of the article, including a discussion in the comments.

AAPL spent all day in positive territory, until it counted. The stock traded in a narrow range about 40-50 cents higher for most of the trading day, but dropped off sharply in the last hour. Volume was very light, along with the rest of the markets, and the dayis range was 22.76 - 23.49.

Apple closed at 22.85, a loss of 0.15 (-0.65%), on very light volume of 3,625,500 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2107.43,a loss of 21.43 (-1.01%), on volume of 1,432,212,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10821.31, a loss of 89.13 (-0.82%), on volume of 898,084,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1245.67, down 9.51 (-0.76%).

Adobe closed at 39.86, a loss of 0.42 (-1.04%), on very light volume of 2,091,900 shares trading hands.

Akamai lost out on an ad serving deal with MSN to Digital Island. AKAM closed at 9.34, a loss of 0.23 (-2.40%), on light volume of 1,957,800 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink moved a little higher on Terra Lycos buyout speculation. ELNK closed at 12.84, up 0.14 (+1.10%), on light volume of 1,207,600 shares trading hands.

IBM was downgraded by Bear Stearns from a Buy to an Attractive as that brokerage things that IBM has reached its appropriate value. IBM closed at 111.81, a loss of 3.39 (-2.94%), on light volume of 8,389,800 shares trading hands.

Macromedia closed at 20.25, a loss of 0.40 (-1.94%), on light volume of 881,600 shares trading hands.

Motorola got some attention from today in an article that asks if the company has been beaten so far down that it can only go up from here MOT closed at 16.00, up twenty cents, (+1.27%), on very light volume of 5,187,900 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 24.48, up 8 cents (+0.33%), on very light volume of 18,651,800 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 17.53, a loss of 0.21 (-1.18%), on very light volume of 1,059,900 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 27.94, a loss of 1.07 (-3.69%), on light volume of 47,530,500 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 69.40, a loss of 0.60 (-0.86%), on very light volume of 25,564,400 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.