Wall Street Has The Blahs But Apple Posts A Gain

Investors were hoping for a rally on Ciscois strong earnings , but it didnit materialize. Instead the Dow broke its seven day winning streaking and the Nasdaq couldnit hold on to gains made in the morning. Appleis stock fared better due to a brokeris upgrade.

Reuters reported PaineWebber raised its rating on shares of Apple to attractive from neutral. Analyst Don Young set a target price of $56 on the stock and said growth will be driven by Appleis strong retail inventory position and new product focus. See my recent article about Appleis inventory and retail execution.

Apple climbed 3/4 to close at 47 1/2 on high volume of 6.7 million shares. AAPL roared out of the gate this morning to $48.43 as the stock bounced off yesterdayis low but then gave most of it back late in the afternoon as the Nasdaq weakened.

Apple announced in a press release:

Apple and MBNA today introduced instant financing that allows qualified customers to make monthly payments on Apple products, including the entirely new line of desktops recently debuted at Macworld New York. Through the program -- which enables monthly payments as low as $19.99 for the new $799 Indigo iMac -- customers can apply for financing and receive immediate notification at the point of purchase. The program is available now through Appleis online Apple Store in the United States, and is currently being rolled out to Apple authorized resellers.

The Nasdaq gained 5 points to closed at 3853 on volume of 1.5 billion shares.

Semiconductor and networking stocks led the Nasdaq as high as 3936 before the slide began. Technical analysts arenit pleased that the Nasdaq couldnit break and hold above its 200-day moving average at 3907.

The Dow fell 71 points (-0.65%) to close at 10905 on volume of 1 billion shares. Setting the bearish tone for the Dow today, Walmart (WMT) warned that declining traffic at its stores will lead to lower earnings . Later, Eli Lilly (LLY) lost nearly $30 billion worth of market capitalization after a court stripped the pharmaceutical company of patent protection for Prozac, its blockbuster antidepressant drug.

The S&P 500 dropped 9.93 points (-0.67%) to close at 1472.87.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai slid 2 11/16 to 71 3/8 on the news that content delivery pioneer has acquired CallTheShots Inc. for $6 million in cash and stock. "CallTheShots has been developing technology to enable Web sites to deliver highly customized content to their users without the need to engineer and support an extensive infrastructure", according to the press release.

Adobe fell 5 1/8 to 116 5/16. Earthlink fell 1/8 to 11 1/16. Motorola lost 5/8 to 34 1/2. IBM gave back 1/16 to 118 13/16.

Appleis competitors: Gateway slipped 1/8 to 59 3/4. Compaq climbed 3/8 to 31 3/8. Shares of Microsoft were higher by 1/8 to 74 1/4. Intel climbed 1 15/16 to 63 9/16. Hewlett Packard lost 1 5/8 to 114 3/16.

Dell gained 1/8 to 41 13/16. Reuters reported that Dell CEO, Michael Dell, sold 1.75 million common shares of DELL in early July. Recently US Piper Jaffray lowered its rating on the stock due to doubts that Dell can maintain its 30% revenue growth going forward.

In economic news: The Federal Reserve reported in the so-called beige book report that the economy showed signs of slowing across the country this summer. Although labor and materials costs are climbing, the stronger than expected productivity appears to be keeping inflation in check.

In contradiction to the slowing trend in the US economy wholesale inventory rose at a 1% to compensate for increasing wholesale units sold.

The labor shortage continues to plague the business world, according to the Wall Street Journal, "Finding workers was difficult across a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, services, transportation, construction and retail. Adding to the difficulty of locating good hires, a Richmond retailer noted that some "employees just donit show up for work." One staffing service in the Chicago area told the Fed that finding workers was "like torture." "

The Mac Observer Stock Watch Virtual Portfolio is near its low for the year.

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 Apple Stock Watch Special Report.