Semiconductors Spark Rally, Apple Gains 4.49%

Intel and the Semiconductor Industry Association both helped to push tech stocks, and the markets in general, into rally mode. Intel released mid-quarter upbeat guidance after the closing bell, and the anticipation of that event got investors in a buying mood. The Semiconductor Industry Association raised its 2002 sales forecast to a growth of 20.5%, up from earlier projections of growth of 10%. The result was that semiconductors, hardware makers, and software developers all moved to the upside in moderately light volume. Investors and analysts alike were pleased at the news however, suggesting that the markets are gaining strength. From a Reuters report:

"Even though the earnings that are going to come out in this next quarter are pretty weak, thereis a sense that maybe tech land is bottoming out," said Michelle Clayman, chief investment officer at New Amsterdam Partners.

IBM is about to announce a new technology that will increase processor speeds by up to 30-35% without changing the transistor count, size, or other traditional means of improving clock speed. This could have an impact on Apple, depending on whether or not Motorola ends up using any of the technology in their version of the PowerPC. IBM closed down 25 cents today.

Steve Gibson, president of Gibson Research Group, is claiming that Microsoft is implementing something called "raw sockets" in Windows XP that will make it easier for the bad guys to launch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. As we said in MOSN today, the new OS isnit even out, and already complaints about its security are ringing forth. In other Microsoft news, ZDNet offers an outstanding article on Microsoftis efforts to leverage its monopoly power in the OS market into greater market share in the Instant Messaging market. That, for those keeping score at home, is prohibited by the Sherman Antitrust Act. That is also what the current antitrust trial is all about. The irony is deadened only by the fact that we all know this is how the company behaves.

In other Microsoft related news, AT&T has sent Microsoft back to the drawing board for its set-top box software, a move that has probably frustrated the software giant. Microsoft invested US$5 billion in AT&T in exchange for having Microsoftis Windows derivative in charge of AT&Tis advanced set-top box. AP has a full report. Reuters is also reporting that Microsoft has announced two new "testing" arrangements with Israel and Mexico for its interactive TV software. It will be interesting to see if the markets take notice on Friday. Microsoft gained US$1.32 in light volume.

CBS Marketwatch reports on an author who has written a book saying that the Internet is bad for corporate profits.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies has released a study that says computer export controls are irrelevant now because of the enormous computer power of even the slowest of todayis off the shelf models. The ubiquity of fast computers makes the export controls pointless, according to the study. It was on the basis of these export controls that Apple briefly marketed the PowerMac G4 as a super computer.

One of Appleis main distributors, Ingram Micro, is laying off 1,000 workers, or 6% of its work force in an effort to cut costs.

Apple started the day in negative territory, but quickly started Stair Stepping its way to a nice 4.49% gain. The stock traded in light volume with a range of 20.47 - 21.69, closing just below the dayis high.

Apple closed at 21.66, up 0.93 (+4.49%), on light volume of 5,807,100 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2264.00, a gain of 46.27 (+2.09%), on volume of 1,662,355,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 11090.74, up 20.50 (+0.19%), on volume of 1,086,489,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1276.96, higher by 6.93 (+0.55%).

Adobe closed at 42.85, a gain of 1.98 (+4.84%), on light volume of 2,305,000 shares trading hands.

Akamai closed at 9.64, down 0.41 (-4.08%), on light volume of 1,856,700 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink is mentioned again in an interesting report on Terra Lycos not being interested in the US access market. ELNK closed at 14.37, a gain of 0.36 (+2.57%), on light volume of 1,073,500 shares trading hands.

IBM closed at 117.25, down 0.25 (-0.21%), on light volume of 6,423,700 shares trading hands.

Macromedia closed at 24.92, a gain of 0.41(+1.67%), on light volume of 514,900 shares trading hands.

Motorola is now in like Flynn with the NSA. The companyis satellites have been approved by the NSA for some government communications. MOT closed at 15.55, a gain of 0.75 (+5.07%), on light volume of 9,301,700 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 25.61, a gain of 0.35 (+1.39%), on volume of 33,134,600 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 16.50, a gain of 0.10 (+0.61%), on volume of 2,238,000 shares trading hands.

Intel is the subject of an interesting report saying that the company did not try very hard to promote the release of the Itanium 64-bit processor with Hewlett-Packard. INTC closed at 31.14, a gain of 1.32 (+4.43%), on strong volume of 75,790,496 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 73.68, a gain of 1.32 (+1.82%), on light volume of 33,488,300 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.