by Marc Bastow | September 18, 2012 5:10 pm
Up a little, down a little, up a little … you get the idea. It feels like if not for the strength of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — OK, and the Fed’s underlying hand in the economy and, thus, investor mind-set of investors — all heck just might break loose to the downside.
Still, the cycle hasn’t broken yet, so stocks wallowed in a fairly tight range for the day before settling in with mixed results. The Dow gained fractionally to finish at 13,564, the S&P fell 0.13% to 1,459 and the Nasdaq ended down marginally at 3,177.
Still cruising on anticipation of this week’s iPhone 5 launch, Apple walked the fine share line of $700 before driving it home and finishing at a new all-time high of just less than $701.91.
At this point, Apple has enjoyed more than 2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5, and expectations are they could sell as many as 20 million units this quarter, according to ValueWalk, and potentially 46 million during the holiday season.
Apple’s market cap of $655 billion represents 13% of the Nasdaq and 5% of the S&P 500, so a price of over $700 is more than just symbolic. Analysts are already reconsidering valuations, and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) raised its target price on the stock to $850 per share — a full $100 above its previous targets.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) released disappointing earnings and once again warned Street analysts and shareholders that a weak economy will hold down future results — this time for the current quarter and full fiscal year. Shares were handed a 3% loss on the day.
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) was pummeled, losing nearly 10% on the day after company CFO Thomas Seifert announced his departure after three years in the job. A hoped-for turnaround led by Rory Read, who took the reins about a year ago, has not materialized, with AMD shares nearly halved in the past 52 weeks.
The pain in the coal industry continues as Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) announced it will close eight mines across West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania to help trim expenses. Nearly 9% of the company’s employees will be affected once the mines are closed and layoffs begin.
Shares of battery manufacturer Energizer (NYSE:ENR) surged as the company announced plans to restructure its operations in an effort to save up to $200 million annually in expenses. ENR also said it will keep its earnings guidance numbers in place, and anticipates higher per-share earnings year-over-year. Shares closed more than 10% higher.
Finally, just a friendly reminder that it’s National Cheeseburger Day. Hopefully, one of those beef ‘n’ cheese beauties is somewhere just down your road.
Earnings reports for Wednesday include AutoZone (NYSE:AZO), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), and Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL).
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL.
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