Apple, RIM, Palm Dodge Stock Sell-off

Stocks plunged for a second day Tuesday on growing economic worries, but the smartphone trio of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) managed to sidestep the selling.

Palm added 1.6% on a Pacific Crest analyst’s report of strong Pre sales, and the company has also benefited from takeover speculation.

Apple and RIM managed to end the day flat even as the rest of the market fell more than 1%. RIM will report its quarterly results late Thursday, and analysts will be watching closely to see how the company is faring against stiff competition from Palm and Apple. Despite stiffer competition and the worst economy in more than 50 years, analysts are still expecting 52% sales growth from RIM this quarter. RIM also unveiled the new BlackBerry Tour aimed at international travelers.

Apple has also benefited from reports of strong iPhone 3GS demand.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) and Qwest (NYSE: Q) got a boost from upbeat analyst comments.

But the broader market fell despite stronger than expected housing construction data, as another drop in industrial production and disappointing results from Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) reminded investors that economic recovery has yet to take hold.

STEC (NASDAQ: STEC) was a bright spot, as the solid state drive maker soared 27% after raising guidance.

After the close, Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) lost ground despite better than expected quarterly sales and in-line earnings.

The Nasdaq lost 20 to 1796, the S&P 500 fell 11 to 911, and the Dow tumbled 107 to 8504. Volume rose to 4.95 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 26-10 margin on the NYSE, and 19-7 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 81% on the NYSE, and 78% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 10-47 on the NYSE, and 16-21 on the Nasdaq.

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