OS X and Salomon Smith Barney's Positive Comments Power AAPL

A bit of profit taking held the Dow back, but the Nasdaq continued higher. Apple powered ahead for the seventh consecutive day on the news of Mac OS X beta release date, and it didnit hurt that Salomon Smith Barney essential said buy Apple now!

An ON24 audio report said Salomon Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner, after meeting with Appleis management, reiterated his buy rating on Apple, saying the company is one of his two top picks in the PC industry, the other is Gateway. Gardner said that Appleis growth is 3 times the industry average, second only to Dellis. He said Apple completed its business turn around 9 month ago and is in a growth phase with strong products, good marketing and great management. Nevertheless, he noted that Apple could improve some aspects of inventory handling.

According to ON24, "Salomon Smith Barney concluded by advising investors to be aggressive buyers of Apple before the September earnings announcement." Solomonis price target is $70 per share.

Apple rallied 1 1/8 or 1.94% to close near the high of the day at 59 3/16 on volume of 4.7 million shares. AAPL closed above the July 12th price peak of 58 13/16, placing todayis closing price at its highest level since May 1st.

The Nasdaq climbed 11.63 points (0.29%) to close at 4082 on volume of 1.4 billion shares. The Nasdaq has been steadily inching forward 11 out of the last 13 sessions.

The Dow fell 37 points (-0.34%) to close at 11215.10 on volume of 787 million shares. Record high spot gasoline price in Los Angeles are a sign of the times.

The S&P 500 dropped 9.73 points (-0.64%) to close at 1504.36.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai shed 11/16 to 66 5/16. 13/16. IBM gained 1 3/8 to 132 7/8.

Adobe climbed 1 1/4 to 59 3/16. An Upside Today article points out that, "Adobe isnit accepting any e-publishing standard from Microsoft as fait accompli... Adobeis reading platform will compete directly with the Microsoft Reader, which was launched in early August, and has been the subject of several deals, including one announced Monday between Microsoft and Amazon.com." Adobe said yesterday that it will acquire Glassbook, a maker of e-book software base on Adobeis PDF (portable document format).

Motorola gained 5/16 to 35 on news the semiconductor giant will, "acquire Printrak International Inc (AFIS) for $160 million cash in a bid to expand its two-way radio business for public safety customers. In the transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, Motorola will pay $12.14 for each outstanding share of Anaheim, Calif.-based Printrak. The companies said the offer represents a 36 percent premium over the average closing price of Printrak in the last 60 days."

Appleis competitors: Dell gained 1 1/16 to 40 9/16. Gateway lost 0.85 to 65.70. (GTW is one of a hand full of stocks that began trading in decimals this week on the NYSE) Compaq gave back 9/16 to 34 1/16. Shares of Microsoft lost 3/8 to 70 15/16.

Micron (MU) claimed in a suit filed today that Rambus (RMBS) violated federal antitrust laws. Rambus replied they, "had initiated talks with Micron to license intellectual property used in types of specialty semiconductors known as SDRAMs and DDR SDRAMs, but those talks did not result in any agreements. Rather than negotiate, Micron chose to litigate."

In economic news: New home sales rose 14.7% in July for the largest monthly increase in more than seven years, but June new-home sales were revised lower to -7.1% from -3.7%.

The Wall Street Journal said, "Julyis hotter housing market could prove unnerving to Federal Reserve policy makers, who raised interest six times since mid-1999 to slow the economy and prevent inflation. The Fed has left rates unchanged at its two most recent meetings, however. And at its meeting on Aug. 22, expressed optimism that the pace of growth "is moderating."

The Conference Board reported consumer confidence remains near record highs, although it fell from 143 in July to 141.1 in August. The record high was set back in May and January at 144.7.

The Mac Observer Stock Watch Virtual Portfolio continues to climb on the backs of AAPL and IBM.

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 Apple Stock Watch Special Report.