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Wall St flat after Apple starts dividend

US stocks were little changed on Monday, as equities stayed within reach of nearly 4-year highs and after cash-rich Apple said it will begin paying a dividend and buying back stock.

March 19, 2012 / 07:53 PM IST

US stocks were little changed on Monday, as equities stayed within reach of nearly 4-year highs and after cash-rich Apple said it will begin paying a dividend and buying back stock.


Apple Inc, the world's most valuable company, will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 and buy back up to $10 billion of its stock. Speculation heated up in recent weeks over how the iPad maker might use its $98 billion cash stockpile.


Apple stock has a 50-day correlation of 0.95 with the S&P, which many analysts say was a big reason for the run higher in the benchmark index. "It's a good story, the market was kind of expecting that. People were questioning what Apple could do with the money other than earn nothing," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital In Jersey City, New Jersey.


Apple shares gained 1.8 percent to $596.18, while the S&P technology index added 0.2 percent.


The S&P 500 capped its fifth straight weekly gain with its best week in three months on Friday. The index has risen in seven of the past eight sessions for a 4.5 percent climb.


"We have to pull back somewhat. We have got to get a little closer to technical support, just in order for the trend to remain healthy, Kind of like pruning the tree, the market needs a little bit of a pruning," said Kenny.


The Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.27 points, or 0.07 percent, at 13,223.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.66 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,406.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.25 points, or 0.30 percent, at 3,064.51.


United Parcel Service Inc gained 1.9 percent to $79.89 after the package delivery group said it will buy Dutch peer TNT Express, making UPS the market leader in Europe.


Economic data expected later Monday includes the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo March housing market index at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).


After the closing bell, Adobe Systems Inc is set to post quarterly results. The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 57 cents a share for the software maker. Adobe shares were off 0.7 percent to USD 33.57.

Broadcom Corp gained 0.7% to USD 38.50 after the chipmaker said it won a preliminary injunction against Emulex Corp in a patent infringement suit.

first published: Mar 19, 2012 07:46 pm

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