Tech Stock Rally Drags AAPL Slightly Higher

Could it be the last day of Indecision 2000? The stock markets hoped so and seemed to anticipate political clarity ahead with a broad rally in tech and financials stocks. Appleis stock remains quite unfashionable with investors but eked out a small gain.

The Nasdaq peaked above 3,000 for the first time since November 17. Floor traders on the NYSE commented institutional buyers are stepping back into the beaten down technology stocks as a number of bullish analysts comment the worst bearishness may be over.

Appleis stock climbed 1/8 or 0.83% to 15 3/16 on volume of 5.9 million shares.

iTis the season of rebates for PC vendors since manufacturers over estimated holiday demand levels. Inventories, especially for consumer PCs, are backed up on shelves across the U.S.

"Not since the free-PC craze of summer 1999 have consumers seen rebates--or deals--like these, say analysts," claims C/NET News. "The cost to retailers, computer manufacturers and Internet service providers, however, could be massive cuts to razor-thin margins on some of the hottest PC models."

The C/NET article warned that analysts believe, "Apple Computer and Compaq are the most exposed right now, as their inventory levels are highest--11 weeks and 10.5 weeks, respectively--according to ARS. Both companies are the most aggressive with rebates, with Apple offering as much as $500 in coupons and Compaq, $250."

Meanwhile, the bears are firmly in control of the conventional wisdom on Appleis business prospects this holiday season. "When the PC industry gets a cold, Apple gets pneumonia", chides Jim Seymour at "Thereis going to be no iMac under most trees this Christmas. And under Steveis tree? Maybe a lump of coal."

A business week diatribe blames Steve Jobs and his management for Appleis woes and concludes, "itis hard to see how the company might manage to turn its fortunes around." Mac Observeris Editor-in-Chief Bryan Chaffin takes Business Week to task for fuzzy math. Read the full Mac Observer story.

The Nasdaq rallied 97 points (3.33%) to close at 3014 on high volume of 2.34 billion shares. The Nasdaq is up 19% in little over a week from its recent intraday low of 2523.

The Dow climbed 12 points (0.12%) to close at 10725 on volume of 1.17 billion shares.

The S&P 500 climbed 10.45 points (0.76%) to close at 1380.34.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai gained 4 3/8 to 38 5/8. Adobe rallied 5 3/4 to 74 1/8.

IBM and Intel separately announced semiconductor manufacturing advances which could "produce chips 10 times faster than those now available." IBM lost 1 15/16 to 95 1/16, while Intel gained 3 1/16 to 37 7/16.

PC stocks bounces off recent lows. Dell rallied 1 1/2 to 20 1/16. Gateway climbed 0.02 to 17.53. Compaq gained 0.70 to 20.20.

Motorolais stock advanced 12% to 21 5/8, in spite of missing earnings expectations this quarter.

Even the rapidly growing Sun Microsystems is offering 3% rebates to resellers. Sun plunged 4 15/16 to 34 dollars, a new 52-week low, after losing 3 7/8 on Friday. Analysts are warning U.S. demand may be slowing for Sunis products.

Oracle announced its own "Developer Service Provider (DSP)" initiative to build-out Web-based business services today as competition to Microsoftis own plans in the growing Web services market. Oracle reports Q2 earnings on Thursday and is expected to announce $0.10 per share over a year agois $0.07 per share. Oracleis stock climbed 1 7/8 to 31 15/16.

"Be Inc. (BEOS) today introduced the BeIA Management and Administration Platform (MAP) for Internet appliances. MAP offers device and service providers a unified suite of applications and services for managing a trouble-free end user experience," announced a Be Inc. press release. The stock lost 1/32 to 1 5/8.

In economic news: U.S. inventories at wholesalers climbed 0.3% in October, slightly less than expected.

The Wall Street journal noted:

"Economists have been watching the trend in business inventories more closely as they look for hints of overbuilding. As consumer sales have cooled in recent months, the possibility of a small inventory "overhang" has increased. Because of improvements in the supply chain, however, such as just-in-time delivery and better tracking of orders, the chances of a substantial overhang that could cripple the economy are seen as slim."

Look for Novemberis retail sales numbers on Wednesday and then brace for a slew of economic data releases that will be closely monitored by market watchers later in the week.

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.