Retail Store News Fails To Boost Apple's Stock

Appleis news was all about official word from the company that they would be opening its own line of retail stores. This wonit be news for most denizens of the Mac Web, but it is the first time that Apple has officially acknowledged the retail stores. The company sent out invitations for the grand opening of the first store in McLean, Virginia on May 19th. This is two days before the WWDC opens its doors on May 21st. Letis call it an early Xmas present to developers. From the Wall Street Journal story:

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed Apple will open its first retail store on May 19, but declined to comment further.

Apple over the past 18 months has hired on several retail-savvy executives from Target Corp. and Gap Inc., in what analysts say was a prelude to opening its own retail stores. Rival computer maker Gateway Inc., which also operates a chain of its own Gateway stores, has in the past also said Apple was attempting to recruit retail professionals from its stores.

Appleis stock didnit get much of a boost from the news until after hours trading, where the stock was trading higher. This coincided with an in-depth story from CNBC on the retail stores, a story which they hyped for a couple of hours before it ran. We will have a full report on the CNBC story tomorrow morning. CNBC is also still talking about a possible debate between Michael Dell and Steve Jobs over the merits of their consumer portables. That would be most interesting.

Speaking of Dell, the company announced layoffs of another 3,000-4,000 people. A blow to those employees and the Austin, Tx. economy. The company has been laying off its work force in droves in an effort to maintain profits in the face of a price war the company is waging to increase their market share. From a company statement as reported by Reuters:On the other hand, Forbes published a piece called "Winner Of The Week: Apple Computer." Author Arik Hesseldahl lists all the many reasons that make Apple a strong company with a healthy stock. As we mentioned at Mac OS News Around the Web, most of those reading this will not find too much new in the article. There are many million more of other investors who do not know enough about Apple, however, and we think the piece is some excellent exposure for the company. On24 has another good piece for Apple that cites several analysts who all agree that Apple has taken a step in the right direction

"Slowing industry growth is both requiring Dell to resize its work force and allowing the company to streamline its organization after several years of rapid expansion," the company said.

Now, thatis not exactly the whole story, is it? The whole story is that Dell is resizing its operations because it chose a period of decline in PC growth to cut its margins so thin that it canit afford to keep those employees on staff in an effort to gain a point or two of market share. Woe be to their customers in the process... In the meanwhile, Apple went on record as saying they would not mortgage their future by laying off their brain trust. Their solution to gaining market share is to make cooler products. Thatis a fairly symbolic difference between Apple and Dell.

While weire on the track of companies doing things the wrong way, Microsoft is moving their customers (read: Microsoftis customers are allowing themselves to be moved) to a subscription model for software. Use Windows 2000 for as long as you want, but you *will* pay for it every year. According to a report from Reuters, the company is trying this out in Europe, but we have known for some time that this was Microsoftis goal for all its operations. Look for an editorial on this tomorrow. Upside Today has also placed Microsoft "On Trial" in their series that presents a prosecution and defense of a company and asks their readers to decide the verdict. The charge is whether or not the company is a software fascist. Microsoftis recent attacks on Open Source Software helped sparked the Trial. Itis a thought provoking read (both the defense and the prosecution), and we encourage you to check it out.

Overall, the markets moved lower today, especially the tech sector. Volume was anemic, again, particularly in the tech sector. The Nasdaq barely broke 1.75 billion shares, while the Dow didnit come near a billion, both fairly rare occurrences. All but three of the stocks we track closed lower.

Apple traded in very low volume today, just over 50% of normal volume. The stock opened up lower, flirted with positive territory a couple of times, but then put its head down and barreled forward towards a solid loss. AAPL took an extra 30 some cents off its total in the last 45 minutes of trading and closed just barely off the dayis lows. The dayis range was 25.76.

Apple closed at 24.96, a loss of 0.79 (-3.07%), on very light volume of 4,910,400 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2173.57, down 17.96 (-0.82%), on volume of 1,750,927,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10935.17, down 16.07 (-0.15%), on volume of 932,452,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1263.51, a loss of 3.10 (-0.25%).

Adobe closed at 41.08, a loss of 0.28 (-0.68%), on light volume of 2,763,500 shares trading hands.

Akamai saw coverage initiated by Adams Harkenss at a Market Perform level. AKAM closed at 9.99, a loss of 0.57 (-5.40%), on volume of 2,510,400 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink closed at 12.75, a loss of 0.92 (-6.73%), on strong volume of 3,130,800 shares trading hands.

Gateway continues to face pressure from the alleged price war between Dell, Compaq, and Gateway. GTW closed at 18.30, down 0.48 (-2.56%), on light volume of 1,844,600 shares trading hands.

IBM is going to be reselling some low-power servers from RLX, a company formed by former Compaq execs. How exciting. IBM closed at 115.90, up 4 cents (+0.03%), on very light volume of 6,088,900 shares trading hands.

Macromedia was spanked in an article from ZDNet. The article calls Macromediais lack of forward guidance "bunker investor relations." Ouch. MACR closed at 20.20, a loss of 0.70 (-3.35%), on light volume of 1,639,100 shares trading hands.

Motorola expects their PCS (mobile phone) group to be profitable. MOT closed at 16.40, a loss of a nickel (-0.30%), on light volume of 8,979,600 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 25.91, a gain of 7 cents (+0.27%), on very light volume of 20,065,400 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 31.16, up 0.28 (+0.91%), on very light volume of 33,483,400 shares trading hands.

Microsoft had no security related stories today, the first time in 4 business days, but a long time Windows user published a list of complaints about the company. Security issues are mentioned in that piece. MSFT closed at 71.35, up 0.60 (+0.85%), on strong volume of 54,538,100 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.