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Apple shares picked up a little over $2 on Tuesday, hitting $196.19 at market close. It was one of many incremental ups and downs AAPL's seen since shares peaked just before the unveiling of the iPad Jan. 27. The general direction since then, however, has been a slight downward droop. That perhaps reflects the uncertainty in the market caused by the iPad's launch and events in its wake. For starters, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was ebullient in his praise of the iPad, describing it as Apple's "most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price."
If you've been following the market in general since the iPad announcement, all the major tech stocks have fallen along with the DJIA. From what many Apple followers are saying is that usually after any event like Apple had, the stock has a tendency to drop no matter what. There were Apple loyalists at the beginning of the year saying that with Apple earnings report and accounting change plus a good iPad event that the share price would be sitting around $220-$230. They were wrong again. Apple stock doesn't appear any stronger than it was months ago and is being dragged along with the rest of the market.
Let's just wait and see how well the iPad sells before coming to any conclusions about how much the iPad will affect Apple's share price. Even if it's a runaway hit, Apple shares will probably continue to struggle in the $200-$205 range if the economy is in a hole. Tech people don't care much for the iPad but I believe the consumers will, especially if Apple continues to make media content deals with publishers and movie and TV studios.