Tomorrow is the big Fed meeting that has figured so prominently in economic news for the past four weeks. Fed Watchers are firmly convinced that the Fed will cut rates by at least 50 basis points (a half point) to 5%. Those that donit think that see a 75 basis points reduction. The mood is mixed on how either decrease will affect the markets, but the at this point the 50 basis point cut is largely built in to stock values, while a 75 basis point cut might be a pleasant surprise. Any change in either extreme will have its own corresponding affect on traders. Trading in advance of tomorrowis meeting started the day in negative territory, but buying pressure eventually creeped in and all three major indexes posted healthy gains. Think that sounds good? Not necessarily, at least according to a CBS Marketwatch report:
"Whether it was short-covering, an oversold bounce or a Greenspan-induced rally, itis hard to read too much into Mondayis price action," remarked Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at Prudential Securities.
"The debate rages on over whether weill get a 50- or 75-basis-point move. Either way, the marketis bottoming process will take place in its own right. There is no magic number from the Fed [thatill be a quick fix for stocks]," he concluded.
Whatever the case, tech stocks largely led todayis rally. All but two of the stocks we track in the Stock Watch ended the day in the black. The losers were Microsoft and Intel. Microsoft officially unveiled HailStorm, the companyis latest nightmare product whose biggest draw hinges upon the companyis need to increase revenues. HailStorm allows users to *store* their personal and credit information on Microsoft servers so that it can then be used by the users in making transactions on the Internet. Consumers love the security on the Internet after all... Better yet, not only will Microsoft control your data, they will charge you a monthly fee for the privilege. The markets have not taken kindly to it, so far. According to a report from CBS Marketwatch:
"A lot of people donit trust Microsoft, and the companyis own security exposures exacerbate that problem," said Rob Enderle, analyst with Giga Information Group.
Intel fell on worries about the economy, even as other tech stocks soared. The company warned again last week, and that have analysts worried. Volume on both the Nasdaq and the Dow was light as lots of money is still sitting on the sideline in anticipation of tomorrowis Fed meeting. Though both indexes posted strong gains, they both remain below the magic level of 10,000 for the Dow and 2,000 for the Nasdaq.
Apple posted a strong gain today, moving ahead some 4.7% to close above the 20 1/2 mark. Volume was moderately light, falling below the daily average, but within the normal daily range of the last three weeks. The stock dipped below Fridayis close in the first hour of trading, but surged ahead by the 10:00 Am hour and never looked back. On Friday, reports began circulating that Apple was pulling out of Sears and there were continued mainstream reports of Apple opening their own retail locations. The companyis stock appears to be benefitting from this as well as from the fact that Apple is not offering some form of centralized control of your personal data that resides on their servers under their control that they then lease to you for a monthly fee.
Apple closed at 20 9/16, a gain of 15/16 (+4.78%), on moderately light volume of 6,357,300 shares trading hands.
The Nasdaq closed at 1951.18, a gain of 60.27 (+3.19%), on volume of 1,776,430,000 shares trading hands.
The Dow closed at 9959.11, a gain of 135.70 (+1.38%), on volume of 1,122,860,000 shares trading hands.
The S&P 500 closed at 1170.81, a gain of 20.28 (+1.76%).
Akamai finally got some relief fro the pummeling it has received. The stock closed at 9 15/32, a gain of 1 1/4 (+15.21%), on heavy volume of 4,271,500 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.
Adobe turned on the PR machine for Premier 6.0 to try and combat the success of Final Cut Pro. ADBE closed up 31 13/16, a strong gain of 3 3/16 (+11.14%), on strong volume of 8,516,700 shares trading hands.
IBM closed at 92.60, a gain of 2.50 (+2.77%), on strong volume of 10,235,900 shares trading hands.
Motorola closed at 15.00, a gain of a point (+7.14%), on light volume of 10,464,700 shares trading hands.
Earthlink closed higher at 10 3/4, a gain of 3/8 (+3.61%), on light volume of 1,737,100 shares trading hands.
Gateway announced new models today. The stock closed at 16.26, a strong gain of 1.40 (+9.42%), on volume of 2,538,700 shares trading hands.
Dell closed at 24 15/16, a gain of 1 1/4 (+5.28%), on very light volume of 24,577,300 shares trading hands.
Hewlett Packard closed at 30.50, a strong gain of 2.48 (+8.85%), on volume of 6,848,000 shares trading hands.
Intel closed 27 1/16, a loss of 13/16 (-2.91%), on heavy volume of 76,658,304 shares trading hands.
Microsoft closed at 54 5/16, a loss of 1/4 (-0.46%), on light volume of 30,518,200 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.