Steep Declines & Broad Rallies Left Apple Unchanged

As we suggested yesterday, a warning from Sun after the yesterdayis closing bell played havoc with tech stocks. Added to it was a warning from our very own Motorola, proud maker of the &33 MHz PowerPC G4. MOT may actually see the first lost in some 15 years as they warned that a steep fall off in orders will impact their 1st quarter results. Sun warned yesterday that their own growth would be less than previously projected. Tech stocks took off swimming for the deep end as soon as trading began this morning, but comments from Bear Stearns analyst John Ryding to the effect that there was a good (60%) that the Fed would lower interest rates next week, in advance of their next scheduled meeting on March 20th, sent the tech sector into rally mode in afternoon trading.

That rally helped both the Dow and the Nasdaq proceeded to shrug off their morning losses as the Dow regained 145 points of its lowest point in the day. The Nasdaq rallied from an 89 point loss to a 17 point gain. The stocks we track in the Apple Stock Watch closed mixed.

Apple traded in a range of 18 1/4 - 18 7/8 on light volume. Apple spent the entire day in negative territory, with the exception of a momentary crest in the first hour of trading, only to close unchanged at the last moment. Analysts have shown a so-so attitude towards Appleis new products that were announced at this weekis MACWORLD Tokyo according to a report from C-Net.

"We are concerned that these bold new patterns will appeal to a limited audience at a time when Apple needs to broaden its appeal," Salomon Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner said in a research note Thursday. At the same time, Apple did fill two big consumer holes with the new iMac line--adding faster processors and CD-rewritable drives. Apple also made additional features, such as a FireWire port and support for an external monitor, standard throughout the iMac line.

Gerard Klauer Mattison analyst David Bailey, however, questioned Appleis decision to raise the cost of its low-end iMac to $899 from $799. "We were a little surprised they raised the entry price on the iMac given the current demand," Bailey said. "We understand the company is trying to boost profitability, but it may send the wrong signals."

On the other hand, Apple got a little positive press for being the first to enjoy the GeForce3. According to another C-Net report:

Although the GeForce3 will make its debut on the Mac, Peddie said it is Windows owners who will see the greatest initial performance gain. Thatis because Microsoftis DirectX graphics standard already takes advantage of the chip, while the support in Mac OS 9 is more limited. However, Peddie added, applications written for Mac OS X will also be able to take full advantage of the GeForce3.

Still, Apple considers being first with the Nvidia chip a big deal. "There were times when we didnit have the fastest (chip)," said Linda McNulty, director of worldwide product marketing for Appleis desktop lines.

Apple has been seen moving away from ATI in favor of Nvidia, although analysts have said that even if Apple wants to move completely to Nvidia it will take time. Nvidiais goal of cracking the Mac market became reality in January when its chips became a part of Appleis Power Mac line.

It is our opinion that the colors will end up being a hit, but analysts usually have to be smacked upside the head with evidence of things such as this. Time will tell.

Apple closed at 18 13/16, unchanged on volume of 5,244,600 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2262.51, a gain of 17.55 (+0.78%) on volume of 2,239,250,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10441.90 -84.91 (-0.81%) on volume of 1,236,433,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1245.72, down 6.96 (-0.57%).

Akamai had a strong rally today as the stock gained more than 12%, erasing the losses form the last two days. AKAM closed at 19 3/16, up 2 3/16 (+12.87%) on light volume of 2,531,900 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe continued its winning streak with another strong performance today. ADBE closed at 32 5/8, up 2 3/16 (+7.19%) on volume of 6,497,800 shares trading hands.

IBM took a hit when Salomon Smith Barney analyst John Jones lowered 2001 earnings estimates for the company. IBM lost as much as US$8.65 per share, but rallied back to close at 104.00, a loss of 4.90 (-4.50%) on heavy volume of 15,276,600 shares trading hands.

Motorola didnit fare too poorly considering their earnings warning. MOT closed at 16.25, a loss of 1.04 (-6.02%) on heavy volume of 30,911,300 shares trading hands.

Earthlink closed at 8 1/2m a loss of 1/8 (-1.45%) on volume of 1,605,800 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 18.05, up 0.47 (+2.67%) on volume of 4,844,800 shares trading hands.

Dell announced that their 1999-2000 sales figures were off due to an error by a previous accounting team. That error lead to an overstatement (inflated) statement on actual unit sales during that time. DELL still performed well today, closing at 23 1/4, a gain of 1 5/16 (+5.98%) on strong volume of 30,889,200 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard finally got a break after taking a big hit earlier this week. The stock closed at 30.00, a gain of 0.23 (+0.77%) on strong volume of 8,933,300 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 29 15/16, down 1/16 (-0.21%) on strong volume of 63,550,200 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 56 3/4, a gain of 1 9/16 (+2.83%) on strong volume of 46,308,500 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.