by Marc Bastow | August 20, 2012 4:53 pm
On the same day that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit a $623 billion market cap in intraday trading, passing the previous record market cap of $618.9 billion (more than $800 billion in inflation-adjusted value today) set by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Dec. 30, 1999, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) hit the bottom, falling to its lowest value since it IPO. Apple finished at an all-time high of $665.13, while Facebook got off the floor to gain nearly 5% on the day and finish just over $20 per share.
It’s hard to know if investors really care at this point, however, as a dearth of market news is available and trading is light across the board. Last week’s rally that sent the indexes to heights not seen since May was mostly fueled by upbeat if cautious economic news, and while the Fed will release the minutes from its July FOMC meeting on Tuesday, the next major event starts at the end of the month in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the Fed’s annual symposium/getaway.
So all in all, the muddling markets finished down just a fraction or flat, with the Dow at 13,271, the S&P at 1,418, and the Nasdaq at 3,076.
In corporate news, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) fell 9% on word that founder Richard Schulze has declined an offer to look into the books in advance of a formal bid, and that the board has hired Hubert Joly as the new president and CEO. The fun continues on Tuesday when Best Buy releases second-quarter earnings.
Health insurer Aetna (NYSE:AET) agreed to purchase Coventry Health (NYSE:CVH) for $5.7 billion, a 20% premium to CVH’s stock price. Aetna expects the deal to help it grow as the Affordable Healthcare Act, which increases Medicaid coverage, starts to kick in next year. Predictably, CVH shares soared, up 20% on the day. But investors also gave a warm welcome to the news on the Aetna side, as shares went up just over 5%.
Citigroup (NYSE:C) continued a recent run by rising 3% with no particular corporate news viewed as a catalyst. Bank stocks have had a nice under-the-radar run recently, and both JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman (NYSE:GS) gained over 1% on the day.
On the earnings front, Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) dropped over 6% after reporting top- and bottom-line results that disappointed Street analysts. Overall same-store sales also slipped, and coming on the heels of last week’s upbeat report from competitor Home Depot (NYSE:HD), investors punished Lowe’s.
Earnings releases continue tomorrow, with InvestorPlace Dependable Dividend Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Real America Index component Daktronics (NASDAQ:DAKT), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) among the notables.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he was long AAPL and MSFT.
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