Sudden Momentum Shift Leads Apple & Others Downward

The markets opened up the day strong and kept right on truckini until it counted. During the last two hours, the Nasdaq managed to lose all of the dayis gains and close in the red, while the Dow lost some 60 points, but remained in positive territory. Tech stocks lead the afternoon decline, though enterprise software developer PeopleSoft had helped lead morning gains. The firm posted stronger than expected profits of 11 cents per share that beat the year ago quarteris 7 cents per share profit, and analyst predictions of 9 cents per share profit. That helped boost early morning gains across the board. A snapshot, courtesy of a Reuters report, of Wall Streetis mood from mid-morning:

"Stocks just appear to want to do better," said Alan Ackerman, a market strategist at Fahnestock & Co. "Bad news doesnit seem to be taking a toll as it did before and good news is surfacing more frequently."

That didnit last, however. Tech stocks closed all headed south, while the rest of the financial markets closed mixed. What caused the sudden shift? There does not appear to be a specific catalyst for the move, especially considering the continued good earnings reports from tech companies, but an AP report suggests that investors are confused by conflicting data on the economic front:

Investors throughout this week have been faced with sometimes confusing data about earnings and the economy. "Thereis is a lot for the market to digest," said Brian Belski, fundamental market strategist for US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Whatever the reason, stocks definitely dipped. Volume for the Down and the Nasdaq was moderate, but several of the stocks we track actually showed light volume.

Apple received a reiteration of its Buy rating from A.G. Edwards. The firm cited Appleis product line, strong education sales, and the soon to be announced new retail stores that Apple will be opening. A.G. Edwards also said that Appleis difficulties were behind them and placed the companyis target price at US$35. We have a full report and extended commentary in a separate report.

Apple started off the day on strong footing. AAPL opened up 30 cents, shot up quickly by another dollar, and then traded in a very narrow range throughout the late morning and early afternoon. At 2:00 PM EST, the stock followed the general tech trend downward, selling off some 70 cents in the last few minutes of trading. There seems to be no specific news to spark the sell off. Instead, it seems Apple was part of the general shift in mood among investors which perhaps provided some profit taking pressure on Apple which has performed well during the last two weeks. Apple traded in heavy volume today in a range of 24.68 - 26.10.

Apple closed at 24.69, down 3 cents (-0.12%), on heavy volume of 14,259,900 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2034.88, a loss of 24.92 (-1.21%), on volume of 2,022,520,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10692.35, up 67.15 (+0.63%), on volume of 1,276,326,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1234.52, up 5.77 (+0.47%).

Akamai has been pummelled for a loss of 24.24% during the last two trading session. Wall Street does not seem to care about the string of announcements from the company during the past two months. AKAM closed at 7, down 0.97 (-12.17%), on strong volume of 4,689,700 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe went nowhere really fast today. ADBE closed at 44.67, unchanged, on light volume of 4,139,700 shares trading hands.

IBM again earned the spotlight with the its sidewalk vandalism ad campaign. We have commentary at Mac OS News Around The Web. IBM closed at 113.74, down 1.11 (-0.97%), on light volume of 7,274,300 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 14.60, a loss of 0.40 (-2.67%), on light volume of 9,831,300 shares trading hands.

Earthlink named a new member to its Board of Directors, cofounder and president of Evercore Partners, Austin M. Beutner. ELNK closed at 11.05, a loss of 0.20 (-1.78%), on very light volume of 902,100 shares trading hands.

Gateway is moving to new pastures. Ohhh boy, is that a tasty joke, or what? The company is moving its corporate headquarters from expensive digs in San Diego to a cheaper location in a San Diego suburb. The move is designed to cut costs. GTW closed at 18.75, up 0.50 (+2.74%), on volume of 3,370,400 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 25.32, up 1.67 (-6.19%), on strong volume of 39,727,900 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 28.64, a loss of 0.39 (-1.34%), on strong volume of 53,463,600 shares trading hands.

Microsoft closed at 69.13, down 0.56 (-0.80%), on strong volume of 59,174,300 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.