Shares of Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, the most valuable U.S. company by
market capitalization, jumped 8.2 percent to $567.77, the biggest
gain since August, a day after the company posted revenue that far
outpaced expectations. Apple also approved another $30 billion
stock-buyback plan, raised its dividend and authorized a
seven-for-one stock split.
The S&P information technology index <.SPLRCT> rose 1.1 percent and
was the best-performing sector of the day.
The three major U.S. stock indexes had opened sharply higher, with
the Nasdaq initially climbing more than 1 percent before turning
negative in the first half-hour of trading. Wall Street bounced off
session lows with gains again concentrated in the Nasdaq, but stocks
finished the day well off earlier highs.
Much of the volatility was driven by comments from Russian Defense
Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said Russia started military drills near
the border with Ukraine. Ukrainian forces killed up to five
pro-Moscow rebels as they closed in on the separatists' military
stronghold in the east.
"The market is biased — from all of the good news we've heard on
stocks recently — to go higher," said Kim Forrest, senior equity
research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
"However, there are hot spots in the world that keep flaring up like
a campfire that won't go out, and the market needs to deal with
Caterpillar Inc <CAT.N> rose 1.8 percent to $105.28 after the
company reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its
full-year profit outlook.
Limiting the Dow's advance were Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N>
and 3M Co <MMM.N>, whose shares fell after the companies' results
missed expectations. Verizon dropped 2.4 percent to $46.28, while 3M
fell 1 percent to $136.65.
The S&P telecom index <.SPLRCL> lost 1.7 percent. The index has
dropped 3.8 percent over the past two days, its worst two-session
performance since June.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> remained unchanged to close
at 16,501.65. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 3.22 points or 0.17 percent,
to 1,878.61. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 21.372 points or
0.52 percent, to end at 4,148.338.
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After the close, Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> shares rose 2.4 percent to
$40.40 after the world's largest software company posted
Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> advanced 0.5 percent to $338.89 in
extended-hours trading after the online retailer reported a 32
percent jump in first-quarter net income and a 23 percent rise in
Facebook Inc <FB.O> reported a 72 percent jump in first-quarter
revenue, lifted by its mobile advertising business, after the
closing bell on Wednesday. The stock darted between positive and
negative territory during the session before closing down 0.8
percent at $60.87.
Profits are seen rising 2.9 percent this quarter, down from the 6.5
percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year, but above
the low of 0.6 percent seen last week, according to Thomson Reuters
Zimmer Holdings Inc <ZMH.N> agreed to buy Biomet Inc <LVBHAB.UL> in
a deal valued at about $13.35 billion to broaden its portfolio of
products that treat bone and joint-related disorders. Zimmer's stock
surged 11.5 percent to $101.97.
A number of cloud-computing stocks, which have struggled lately but
rose last week, opened higher and then quickly sold off. Workday Inc
<WDAY.N> slid 5.3 percent to $72.59 while Salesforce.com <CRM.N>
fell 1.6 percent to $54.73.
Volume was light, with about 6.07 billion shares traded on U.S.
exchanges, below the 6.59 billion average so far this month,
according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock
Exchange by 1,535 to 1,465, while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat
advancers by 1,494 to 1,087.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jan Paschal)
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