Microsoft/Fed Spark Late Rally, AAPL Up

Lots of news today in the financial world, as Microsoftis anti-trust trials traded places with some news/rumors about Fed Chairman Alan Greenspanis upcoming testimony with the House. Letis tackle Microsoft first: the companyis antitrust trial got underway again as arguments began in front of the US Court Of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Microsoft is appealing the ruling that the company be broken up due to its predatory practices that leverage its monopoly power to extend their monopoly into new markets. As part of that appeal, Microsoft is attempting to have the Finding of Facts that declared Microsoft to have monopoly power overturned. Microsoft twas surprised when comments from the seven judge panel indicated this is not likely to happen. Some reports say that Microsoft seems to be fairing well in the oral arguments, while others say that Microsoft was taking a heavy grilling. For an excellent recap of todayis proceedings, read this AP report. Microsoftis stock moved up in todayis session as tech stocks enjoyed a broad rally.

That rally was sparked in part by news that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan would be changing his testimony to the House of Representatives later this week. That testimony, which used to be called the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony and is now known as the "testimony which used to be called the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony" usually mirrors the testimony offered to the US Senate, which takes place first. Word has it that Mr. Greenspan will be altering that testimony and that has Wall Street convinced another rate cut is on the way, either on or before the next meeting of the Fed on March 20th. Analysts are now offering odds on this happening, and the bookies seem to place the chances somewhere between 60% and 80%. No doubt you can place your bets in Vegas or some of the Carribean-based casinos.

In any event, the Dow and the Nasdaq reacted positively to all this speculation on rate cuts. The Dow rose 1.9% while the Nasdaq tacked on more than 2% to its own valuation. Volume was light across the board. The stocks we track were mixed with decliners outpacing advancers.

Apple received some press attention today, but it was all in the form of being one of the companies allegedly harmed by Microsoftis wicked ways. The stock spent most of the day in positive territory, but traded on very light volume. The dayis range was 18 9/16 - 19 11/16. Other late breaking news includes Pioneer announcing that their DVD-R drive will be shipped as a stand alone drive in May of this year with 3rd party manufacturers getting the option of releasing it as an external drive. Todayis Apple Financial Boards conversation deals with the effect, or lack thereof, of Steve Jobsi Tokyo keynote on the price of the stock.

Apple closed at 19 1/2, a gain of 11/16 (+3.65%) on light volume of 3,680,100 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2308.50, up 45.99 (+2.03%) on volume of 1,834,499,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10642.53, up 200.63 (+1.92%) on volume of 1,124,511,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1267.50, a gain of 21.78 (+1.75%).

Akamai was upgraded by Robert W. Baird analyst Dan Ranoird today from Market Perform to Market Outperform. The price target for the stock was set at US$37. AKAM closed at 20 1/16, a gain of 7/8 (+4.56%) on light volume of 1,882,900 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed at 31 11/16, a loss of 15/16 (-2.87%) on volume of 5,353,000 shares trading hands.

IBM closed higher today at 105.30, up 1.30 (+1.25%) on volume of 8,343,200 shares trading hands.

Motorola slowed their descent today as the stock closed at 15.89, down 0.36 (-2.22%) on strong volume of 20,613,300 shares trading hands.

Earthlink launched a new ad campaign aimed at privacy concerns. The stock closed at 8 7/16, off by 1/16 (-0.74%) on light volume of 1,566,000 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 17.81, loss of 0.24 (-1.33%) on volume of 1,990,900 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 22 13/16, a loss of 7/16 (-1.88%) on light volume of 23,495,400 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard went nowhere fast today as the stock closed at 30.00, unchanged, on volume of 8,539,700 shares trading hands.

Intel announced it was buying VxTel, a DSP maker. INTC closed at 29 1/2, off by 7/16 (-1.46%) on strong volume of 60,333,500 shares trading hands.

Microsoft had a fun day in court today (see above). MSFT closed at 59 9/16, up 2 13/16 (+4.96%) on strong volume of 43,965,100 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.