Pre-Tokyo Hype Boost Apple Amidst Continued Tech Slide

Energy prices contributed greatly to a higher than expected CPI (Consumer Price Index) report for January. The CPI rose 0.6%, twice what was expected, though excluding food and energy, the increase was 0.3%. OPEC is currently holding talks about a cutback in oil production in order to keep oil prices at current (i.e. inflationary) levels in advance of lessened demand once Spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. A higher CPI makes Wall Street tense because it lessens the chance that the Federal Reserve can lower interest rates to further stimulate the economy. Many an analyst feels that such a decrease is necessary to help boost the US economy out of the current slowdown.

The result was another down day in trading today. The Nasdaq managed to find itself in positive territory in midday trading, but by the time all was said and done, the Nasdaq had she another 2.13%. The Dow was in the red throughout the day as it too dropped 1.9% of its own value. Sun Microsystems was downgraded today by Merrill Lynch. Adobe and Akamai both took a stiff blow to the gut, losing more than 12% and 9% respectively. Tech stocks were mostly down and all but three of the stocks we track in the Stock Watch all closed lower. Fortunately for AAPL investors, one of those two stocks was Apple.

Hype in advance of tonightis MACWORLD Tokyo keynote has finally managed to make its presence known to at least some traders today. Rather than hearing a chorus of cries asking why the iMac still didnit have CD-RW drives, main stream reports instead reported that Apple is largely expected to release those updated iMacs in Tokyo this evening (technically itis tomorrow morning in Tokyo time, but itis this evening for the US). News that Apple is shipping its 733 MHz PowerMac G4 also made a few headlines.

Apple saw some of the highest volume yet (just under 7 million shares trading hands) since rules changes redefined what a transaction was in January. The stock also came close to topping US$20 again, but fell back in afternoon trading to just below US$19. The dayis range was 18 1/4 - 19 15/16.

Apple closed at 18 7/8, up 9/16 (+3.07%) on volume of 6,966,400 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2268.93, a loss of 49.42 (-2.13%) on volume of 2,014,602,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10526.58, down 204.30 (-1.90%) on volume of 1,204,950,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1255.13, down 23.81 (-1.86%).

Akamai has dropped almost 50% since January 24th, including another 9% today. The company also announced that a patent infringement trial against Digital Island would start in September of this year. The company also got some positive exposure from The Motley Fool and On24, the same people that inaccurately reported on Apple yesterday. Akamai closed at 17 15/16, a loss of 1 55/64 (-9.39%) on volume of 2,442,300 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed at 30 1/16, a steep loss of 4 3/16 (-12.23%) on heavy volume of 11,216,500 shares trading hands.

IBM closed at 107.51, a loss of 3.99 (-3.58%) on strong volume of 9,128,600 shares trading hands.

Motorola lost an executive to HP today as HP moved to create a new division around mobile gadgets. MOT closed at 17.33, another loss of 0.97 (-5.30%) on volume of 12,628,200 shares trading hands.

Earthlink dipped below the US$9 level today. The stock closed at 8 3/4, a loss of 3/8 (-4.11%) on volume of 2,315,500 shares trading hands.

Gateway was the second of our stocks to trade higher today as the stock closed at 18.25, a gain of 0.19 (+1.05%) on light volume of 2,079,200shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 20 5/8, down 1 3/8 (-6.25%) on light volume of 25,209,900 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard closed at 30.01, off by 0.49 (-1.61%) on strong volume of 8,442,100 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 30 3/4 , a loss of 11/16 (-2.19%) on strong volume of 51,413,800 shares trading hands.

Microsoft was the third of our tracked stocks to move up as MSFT closed at 56 1/4, up 3/8 (+0.67%) on light volume of 31,846,700 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.