Techs Tank, Apple Down

Things are bad, but are they bad enough? The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) was released today. It came in a 106.8, below the expected 111.0, which Wall Street had been hoping to see, if you can follow the logic. A lower CCI would hopefully be enough to push the Fed into lowering interest rates sooner than the next Fed meeting on March 20th. While the report was lower than expected, as soon as it was released, Wall Street immediately began worrying about whether it was actually bad enough to provoke a Fed response. In other words, traders are tense because the economy isnit doing poorly enough.

Then the backwash hit as the logic loop danced back around to the idea that the economy wasnit responding well to the Fedis most recent actions to stimulate the economy. Throughout it all, there was continued talk about the news that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was changing his testimony in advance of tomorrowis Humphrey-Hawkinsi testimony to the House. That news sparked yesterdayis rally as the Street became convinced that we would see that elusive rate cut ASAP. Those whacky traders.

The end result of all this talk of rate cuts was another down day across the board. Tech stocks took the brunt of the damage with all but one of the stocks we track closing in the red. The Dow had a brief stint in positive territory only to collapse back below the opening as the afternoon wore on. Volume was light for the second consecutive day.

Microsoft continued to garner lots of press as the antitrust appeal continued to enjoy the oral argument phase. Today, the 7 member judicial panel hammered Judge Penfield Jackson in their questioning of DoJ attorneys. The Register has a nice piece dealing with some of the issues concerning the Browser War. Charles Cooper offered a very good editorial lamenting the loss of David Boise from the DoJ team.

IBM re-announced the PowerPC 750CXe with some changes, the same processor used in Appleis iMac line. Apple spent the entire trading session in negative territory, trading in a range of 18 11/16 - 19 7/16, but managed to close with only a slight loss. Volume was light, but heavier than it was in yesterdayis session.

Apple closed at 19 3/8, down 1/8 (-0.64%), on volume of 6,222,900 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2207.82, a steep decline of 100.68 (-4.36%), on volume of 1,806,197,000 shares trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10636.88, down 5.65 (-0.05%), on volume of 1,103,002,000 shares trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1257.77, off by 9.88 (-0.78%).

Akamai had coverage initiated by SG Cowen at a Buy rating. Akamai faced heavy selling pressure despite this and closed at 17 13/16, down 2 1/4 (-11.21%), on light volume of 2,287,600 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Adobe got an interesting story from the Industry Standard today on an effort by top execs to better learn their own products. ADBE closed at 30 1/2, down 1 3/16 (-3.75%), on volume of 7,164,900 shares trading hands.

IBM re-released the PowerPC 750CXe and the Street yawned. The stock closed 102.59, off by 2.71 (-2.57%) on strong volume of 9,725,200 shares trading hands.

Motorola continued its not-so-slow drift downwards as MOT closed at 15.29, down 0.60 (-3.78%), on strong volume of 15,741,600 shares trading hands.

Earthlink was the one dot of black in a sea of red today in the stocks we track. ELNK closed at 8 31/32, up 17/32 (+6.30%), on light volume of 1,441,100 shares trading hands.

Gateway was downgraded by Merrill Lynch today to a Neutral rating. The stock closed at 16.72, a loss of 1.09 (-6.12%), on volume of 3,749,400 shares trading hands.

Dell closed at 22 1/4, a loss of 9/16 (-2.47%), on light volume of 22,362,500 shares trading hands.

Hewlett Packard made up for yesterdayis lack of movement and lost more than 4% today. The stock closed at 28.60, down 1.40 (-4.67%), on strong volume of 8,777,000 shares trading hands.

Intel made various bullish announcements today on their own finances and the economy in general. The company announced some US$12 billion in capital investments and Craig Barrett, the uncharismatic CEO of Intel, made the great observation "you never save your way out of a recession." Sound advice indeed. INTC closed at 29, down 1/2 (-1.69%), on light volume of 40,715,600 shares trading hands.

Microsoft did not seem to benefit from the growing consensus among analysts that their appeals trial is going well for the company. MSFT closed at 59 3/8, a loss of 3/16 (-0.31%), on strong volume of 49,548,600 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.