Apple Gains as Stocks Stumble

Stocks slumped Monday as investors braced for grim economic and earnings news, but Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) bucked the downtrend on news that Steve Jobs’ health problems appear to be manageable.

Apple shares gained 4% as investors hoped that the revelation would put to rest doubts about the health of the company’s CEO, but the rest of the market fell ahead of what could be a rough month for economic and earnings news.

Friday’s monthly jobs report is expected to show a loss of nearly 500,000 jobs for December, and earnings reporting season begins in earnest next week.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) gained 12% and SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) 9% after a Wachovia analyst said chip sector fundamentals could begin to improve as soon as the second quarter.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) fell on a Bernstein downgrade on a slowing wireless market.

Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC) and Digi (NASDAQ: DIGI) fell 19% each after lowering guidance.

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ: LEAP) gained on upgrades.

The Nasdaq lost 4 to 1628, the S&P 500 slipped 4 to 927, and the Dow lost 81 to 8952. Volume rose to 5.5 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.82 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 24-13 margin on the NYSE, and 15-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 54% on the NYSE, and 51% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 24-48 on the NYSE, and 16-20 on the Nasdaq.

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