* Apple says how it will spend its $98 bln cash pile
* U.S. crude oil rises $1 on Iran fears
* Euro falls, U.S. Treasuries yields at 4 1/2-month highs
By Walter Brandimarte
NEW YORK, March 19 Apple lifted U.S. stocks on
Monday after it announced regular dividends and share buy-backs,
while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields hit a near five-month high
as investors sold safe-haven government bonds.
Concerns about Iran's nuclear program added $1 to U.S. crude
oil prices, while the euro climbed to its highest in more than a
week against the dollar.
U.S. stocks traded in a choppy session as investors
reassessed a rally that has taken the S&P 500 to levels not seen
since the 2008 financial crisis. But a jump of more than 2
percent in Apple's stock price fueled gains for at least one
"Investors have been reluctant to put money to work for a
while, but Apple is giving greater confidence for them to invest
in stocks," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm
LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 6.51 points,
or 0.05 percent, to end at 13,239.13, while the Standard &
Poor's 500 Index gained 5.58 points, or 0.40 percent, to
1,409.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 23.06 points,
or 0.75 percent, to close at 3,078.32.
At Monday's close, the S&P 500 stands 9.9 percent below its
historic closing high of 1,565.15 set on Oct. 9, 2007.
Shares of Apple Inc soared 2.7 percent to $601.10
after the world's most valuable technology company said it will
start paying a regular quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share in
July and buy back up to $10 billion of its stock, beginning in
its next fiscal year.
The maker of the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod has $98
billion in cash, and investors have been wondering for months
what the company would do with that money.
"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.
World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index
gained 0.29 percent, nearing levels last seen in
In Europe, however, the FTSEurofirst 300 index
closed down 0.11 percent after four straight sessions of gains.
"A recent string of better-than-expected macroeconomic data
has boosted sentiment and fueled the market rally, but we're now
at a turning point," said Roland Kaloyan, strategist, global
asset allocation, at Societe Generale CIB.
"Expectations are now higher, and the risk of disappointment
could trigger a correction in equities in the coming weeks," he
The euro rose against the dollar for a third consecutive
session as dollar funding in the euro basis swap market eased,
supporting the common European currency.
The euro hit a session high of $1.3264 and last
traded at $1.3241, up 0.46 percent on the day.
U.S. crude oil prices for April delivery settled at
$108.09 a barrel - up $1.03, or 0.96 percent, on persistent
worries of Iran-related supply disruptions and as the dollar
U.S. Treasuries prices fell as U.S. stocks closed higher,
driving yields to their highest levels in nearly five months.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note slid
23/32 in price to yield 2.38 percent, up from 2.30 percent late
on Friday. Benchmark yields were on track to close higher for
the ninth consecutive session after breaking above their 200-day
moving average last week.
The 30-year U.S. Treasury bond lost more than a
point in price and was last trading down 1-12/32 points in price
to yield 3.48 percent, up from 3.41 percent at Friday's close.