Stocks Rally, New Products Help Push Apple Higher

The markets took a ride on the A-train uptown today. Note that we are not sure if the A-train goes uptown, but the markets definitely had a good day, including Apple. Leading the way was good data from the National Association of Purchasing Managers (NAPM). According to a report from Reuters:

The National Association of Purchasing Managementis closely watched gauge of activity ticked up to 43.2 in April. That was below Wall Street expectations for a reading of 43.8, though it was still higher from Marchis 43.1. "Any signs of the economy not falling apart gives further encouragement to bulls and institutional investors to put money into equities," said Ranis. "While (the numbers) werenit tremendously good, they were solid enough."

That means that while the economy is still doing well, we could still get another cut in interest rates from the Fed. Thatis what we in the "biz" call the best of both worlds. That rate cut may be 25 basis points (1/4 point) instead of the until-now hoped for 50 basis points (half-point), but there is still room. Employment data coming in on Friday will have a part to play in this too. A precipitous drop in employment could help bring that 50 basis point cut back in sight. Conversely, stronger than expected data will have the opposite effect.

All this good news on the economy and interest rate fronts helped spark todayis rally. Better than expected results from Procter & Gamble also helped kick stocks into overdrive. From another Reuters report:

"Procter & Gamble is a bellwether, blue-chip name and as this quarter was a little better than expectations, it appears the worst is probably over" for many related companies, said Allen Ashcroft, who helps manage $4.4 billion for Allied Investment Advisors.

Volume for the Dow and the Nasdaq was light today. Tech stocks closed mixed, though the Nasdaq ended the day on a positive note. Adobe announced that they would be shutting down their operations during the July 4th week in order to trim costs. The company is asking employees to take vacation time during the week. The Wall Street Journal reports that it will mean a US$4 million savings for the company. Reuters is reporting that Adobe says that is on track for the current quarter but that the rest of year is still hazy. Like Apple, Adobe has so far resisted the urge to lay off their employees during the last year. Adobe lost 87 cents on strong volume.

Microsoft announced, now get this, that there was a security hole in their Windows 2000 server software that "makes it easy for hackers to break into a Web site." This is the same company that wants us to trust all our personal, credit, and medical information, as well as our data, on their own servers with HailStorm, PassPort, and .Net. Where do we sign up? Microsoft gained US$2.42 on the news.

Apple announced a new iBook model today to great fanfare. We have a full report on the iBook and a list of the spec differences between the old and new models. Apple also announced the sale of 23,000 iBooks to the Henrico County Public School district. This too has been met with very positive reactions. Lastly, Apple released an update to Mac OS X, bringing the OS to version 10.0.2. The new version includes support for burning CDs through iTunes.

Appleis one day chart looks like a cross section of the Himalayas. The stock started the day close to neutral and proceeded to gyrate up and down wildly enough to make even the most jaded roller coaster fiend eye the merry-go-round with a wistful tear or two. The stock ended the day up 44 cents, not enough to erase yesterdayis losses, and not enough to park it back over the 26 line, but a good gain nonetheless. Volume for AAPL was on the light side, and the dayis range was 25.20 - 26.50.

Apple closed at 25.93, up 0.44 (+1.73%), on light volume of 7,620,200 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2168.24, up 52.00 (+2.46%), on volume of 1,921,836,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10898.34, up 163.37 (+1.52%), on volume of 1,165,129,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1266.44, a gain of 16.98 (+1.36%).

Akamai announced that they would be able to grow sales with their new EdgeSuite services. AKAM closed at 9.08, a loss of 0.37 (-3.92%), on light volume of 2,520,900 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe closed at 44.05, down 0.87 (-1.94%), on strong volume of 7,229,600 shares trading hands.

IBM has beat out Intel for a high-end networking project with Cisco. IBM closed at 118.51, up 3.37 (+2.93%), on light volume of 7,789,800 shares trading hands.

Motorola signed a deal with RePlay TV to license their technology for Motorola set top boxes. MOT closed at 15.89, up 0.34 (+2.19%), on light volume of 8,760,600 shares trading hands.

Earthlink launched a new high speed satellite service. ELNK closed at 11.90, up 0.96 (+8.78%), on light volume of 1,790,100 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 18.80, down 0.20 (-1.05%), on strong volume of 3,596,100 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 25.72, a loss of 0.52 (-1.98%), on strong volume of 48,024,100 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 31.18, a gain of 0.27 (+0.87%), on light volume of 37,202,800 shares trading hands.

Microsoft released the stunning news that there is a security bug in Windows 2000 that "makes it easy for hackers to break into Web sites." We sit flabbergasted. MSFT closed at 70.17, a gain 2.42 (+3.57%), on volume of 41,848,400 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.