Terrorist Warning Spooks Markets, Apple Closes Lower

A report from CNN about an impending terrorist attack against an unknown American target succeeded in putting the breaks on a market rally that had been waged throughout most of the trading session. Military forces in the Persian Gulf went on heightened alert, and travel warnings were issued to American tourists and travelers. The markets reacted strongly at the idea of increased violence and the disruptions it can bring and sent stocks southward. From a Reuters report:

"It dropped the market, and we were able to fill some buys that we wouldnit otherwise have been able to fill," said Ted Oberhaus, manager of equity trading at Lord Abbett & Co. "There was uncertainty and everybody was trying to flatten out their position ahead of the weekend."

A warning from pharmaceutical giant Merck didnit help the markets either. Symantec also issued a profit warning, which caused the companyis stock to drop some 36% to close at 38.90, a drop of 22.41. From the same Reuters report:

"Until we see a shift in earnings momentum, investors are going to be gun-shy about getting aggressive," said Peter Gottlieb, portfolio manager at First Albany Asset Management, which oversees $600 million. "There is an inclination given the last few quarters -- with all the preannouncements that have come out -- to wait for all the surprises to pass," he said.

Volume was moderate across the board with the Dow trading some 1.18 billion shares and the Nasdaq seeing 1.7 billion shares trade hands.

Apple started the day in negative territory, but quickly advanced into to about 25 cents over yesterdayis close. The stock traded in a somewhat narrow band until the CNN report hit, at which point it dove by about a dollar in only a few minutes. A rally in the last 20 minutes was beaten off, and AAPL closed lower by some 23 cents. Volume for the stock was light, and the dayis range was 21.76 - 23.

Apple closed at 22.26, down 0.23 (-1.02%), on light volume of 5,107,600 shares trading hands.

The Nasdaq closed at 2034.84, down 23.92 (-1.16%), on volume of 1,718,890,000 trading hands.

The Dow closed at 10604.59, a loss of 110.84 (-1.03%), on volume of 1,189,220,000 trading hands.

The S&P 500 closed at 1225.35, a loss of 11.69 (-0.95%).

Adobe has issued a press release that praises the US governmentis regulations that government Web sites be accessible to those with disabilities. ADBE closed at 43.58, down 1.72 (-3.79%), on light volume of 2,799,600 shares trading hands.

Akamai closed at 6.81, a loss of 0.13 (-1.87%), on light volume of 1,991,100 shares trading hands. Apple is a large shareholder of Akamai.

Earthlink closed at 11.79, down 0.29 (-2.40%), on volume of 2,085,200 shares trading hands.

IBM was dropped by Transmeta as the manufacturer of their processors. IBM closed at 112.87, up 0.27 (+0.24%), on light volume of 5,607,200 shares trading hands.

Macromedia closed at 19.40, a loss of 0.86 (-4.24%), on very light volume of 425,100 shares trading hands.

Motorola closed at 14.55, up 0.50 (+3.56%), on volume of 12,244,300 shares trading hands.

Dell has entered into an agreement to offer products from Inktomi on some of its Web servers. DELL closed at 23.41, down 9 cents (-0.38%), on light volume of 21,047,300 shares trading hands.

Gateway closed at 15.05, down 0.24 (-1.57%), on very light volume of 892,600 shares trading hands.

Intel closed at 27.51, a gain of 0.24 (+0.88%), on light volume of 30,370,800 shares trading hands.

Microsoft is closing ListBot, a free newsletter service, in order to shift users to a paid service. MSFT closed at 68.83, down 1.01 (-1.45%), on light volume of 25,546,100 shares trading hands.

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