SAN FRANCISCO -- Stocks side-stepped another disappointing session in bonds, with the

Nasdaq Composite

and the

S&P 500

setting records. The


also rose, but failed to set a new high. (For more, see today's

Market Roundup).

Heat of the Apple


yesterday's Market Roundup, I quoted Jim Volk, co-head of institutional trading at

D.A. Davidson

, saying


(AAPL) - Get Report

earnings don't much matter. Then I cringed at the thought of the torrent of hate-filled email I'd receive from "Apple zealots," as has been the case in the past.

But I got none. Apple fans were probably too busy savoring the company's latest quarterly earnings -- (foolish) pride tells me it's NOT because people didn't read the story.

Apple shares dipped 4.5% to 53 1/4 today, but this after the stock ran from 34 3/8 on April 21 to 55 15/16 yesterday. Moreover, one of the longest-standing Apple bulls remains so.

"I think things are just fine," said Lou Mazzucchelli, an analyst at

Gerard Klauer Mattison

. "The product strategy seems to be working, operations have improved, the outlook for the rest of the year is very good. I'm not going to try to pick nits, although lots of people are."

(For the record, Mazzucchelli put a buy on Apple in November 1997 and retains the recommendation. Gerard Klauer has done no underwriting for the company -- "We wish," Mazz said.)

However, the analyst recommends investors "stay away" from Apple until after


, the annual gathering of the aforementioned Apple zealots, which begins Tuesday and closes July 23.

"Some shorts might want to cover, but there might be some profit-taking because the thing acted so well

and people will be selling on news," he said. "After MacWorld build a position heading into the rest of the year. It's going to be pretty good.

"The long-term outlook is very solid for these guys," Mazzucchelli continued. "People are worried about free PCs, but they have been able to differentiate, and will continue to do so.

Apple used to get creamed because they weren't doing Wintel. Now, it's a benefit."

Funny, I'm not at all worried about getting slammed by PC zealots.

TSC Special

Shorts Have Dim View of Sunrise Technologies' Success gets the nod today, meaning Senior Writer

Jesse Eisinger

now has a seemingly insurmountable 2-to-1 lead over his closest competitors in the race for "


Specialist of the Year." He truly is the

Lance Armstrong of



Businessman's Dinner

I dined last night at

Eos, courtesy of a longtime friend of the family who happens to be in private banking at the securities department of a major West Coast bank. (He asked to remain anonymous because of compliance concerns and because his employer is "terrified" of the securities industry and mainly wants him to push "packaged products" -- funds and annuities vs. individual stocks or bonds -- which provide the bank a steady income stream.)

FamilyMan (.com?) discussed the trials and tribulations of being a full-service broker in this era. He feels the services are worthwhile and says he's done well for clients, but folks are quick to complain about fees if the portfolio has a bad spell or a new pick doesn't immediately work. Our host also lamented the lack of financial acumen of some clients; most have assets of at least $500,000 but expect 15% to 20% returns without risk. (!)

I asked what he's buying now and -- after admitting it's tough to find value -- he said he's done well with

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

(which -- full disclosure -- owns

Fox News Channel

, which is going to air's

television show). FamilyMan also believes


(ALL) - Get Report

is undervalued. (Full disclosure -- my sister uses Allstate for car insurance.)

I couldn't tell if it was the wine or those picks, but I started to get sleepy. Then he mentioned


(NETE) - Get Report

, which provides "software & services for secure user management and access control for electronic commerce applications," according to the company's


Our source got clients in at around 18. Today the stock closed up 20.1% at 30, but our friend knew of nothing to justify the big move.

"I think more than anything, the consolidation buzz is moving through different stocks," Netegrity included, said Steve Harmon, senior investment analyst at

. "I've heard a couple of names but wouldn't feel comfortable saying without knowing more myself."



for a refreshing change of pace?


Harmon quickly changed the conversation to's forthcoming IPO, the subject of heavy drooling-in-anticipation among investors.

Reflecting such, underwriters -- featuring

Credit Suisse First Boston's

Frank Quattrone -- recently upped the expected range for the offering to $16 to $18 per (from $9 to $11 previously) and the number of shares to 12.3 million from 9 million. (The ticker is MPPP; latest filing


"This is the hottest IPO of the year -- way bigger than Netegrity," Harmon said. "This is going to be the


of 1999. It's a massive story."

Whenever there's this much hype about a stock (or anything else, such as

The Phantom Menace

) I generally head in the other direction. Reality generally doesn't fulfill expectations.

Ad Busters, Part Deux


Jim Cramer

-as-Uncle Sam print ads are a hoot! First prize is a trip to New York and a "morning in the trenches" with the man himself. Some folks in the newsroom wondered if second prize is a


with the mercurial hedge fund manager.

Meanwhile, the ad for the TV show, reviewed (ahem) in this space

yesterday, contains the term "actionable." That seems to fit the concern we're advertising laundry detergent vs. financial news. Moreover, an editor points out there is only ONE definition for the word (from

Webster's New World

): "That which gives cause for an action or lawsuit."

Heaven help us.

Aaron L. Task writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at