“Tech stocks maintained their strong gains in late trading Wednesday, with firms like Hewlett-Packard and Facebook leading the sector as part of a market-wide relief rally following a last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch.

“With less than an hour left in the trading day, the Nasdaq Composite Index was up by 81 points, or 2.7%, at 3,100, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index adding 3.6% and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index up by 2.7%. The Dow was trading up more than 250 points at last check,” Crum reports. “Investors were in an upbeat mood after the House of Representatives passed Senate-approved budget legislation late on Tuesday night. The move means that the U.S. economy will avoid the fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax increases that threatened to push it back into recession.”

Crum reports, “Apple was also on the rise, as its shares climbed nearly 3% to $548. A handful of analysts issued positive notes about the company’s outlook that contrasted with more downbeat comments from Wall Street over the last several weeks.”

Read more in the full article here.

Dan Gallagher reports for MarketWatch, “Apple Inc. kicked off the New Year on Wednesday with a handful of positive comments from analysts that contrasts with the relatively downbeat sentiment the stock felt over the last couple of months, helping to boost the stock around 2% to $543.40 by midday as one of the leaders in the tech rally.”

“The timing was notable, in that Apple managed to close out 2012 with a gain of about 31% — respectable, though below several of its tech peers on the S&P 500 roster,” Gallagher reports. “Apple, in fact, barely made the top-20 list for the year among gainers in this category, with the stock having been hurt by a brutal sell-off that clipped nearly one-quarter of its market value since the launch of the iPhone 5 in late September.”

Gallagher reports, “On Monday, several analysts issued some bullish comments on the company that just closed out its key first fiscal quarter, which includes the holiday shopping period. Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest wrote that strong iPhone sales “should drive December [quarter] results above Street expectations.” Tavis McCourt of Raymond James raised his iPhone sales target for the December period to 48 million units from 46 million, globally. Trip Chowdry of Global Equities Research predicted that between 3 million and 4 million new iPhone 5 units were purchased by enterprise customers for their employees in the December period, with demand for enterprise applications such as Salesforce.com and Workday helping to drive demand in this segment.”

MacDailyNews Take: And all that was “wrong” with AAPL two days ago is now magically right. Like clockwork.

Did you make a lot of money today?