* Apple's new iPhone hits world, shares at peak
* Kors boosts guidance, shares up
* Vivus drops on obesity drug outlook
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.4, Nasdaq 0.6 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 21 U.S. stocks opened higher on
Friday as Spain moved toward reform measures in anticipation of
a bailout package and as Apple debuted its latest iPhone
worldwide, sending its shares up to a new peak.
Spain is considering freezing pensions and speeding up a
planned rise in the retirement age as it races to cut spending
and meet conditions of an expected international sovereign aid
package, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The country's deputy prime minister later denied the
government was mulling the freezing of pensions and the German
finance minister said the country did not need a sovereign
bailout on top of the package already agreed for its banks.
"There is that news out of Europe, where they seem to be
making more progress towards helping Spain out, so that is going
to continue to kind of support us, for sure," said Ken Polcari,
Managing Director at ICAP Equities in New York.
After gaining about 6 percent since the start of August on
expectations for new economic stimulus measures by world central
banks, the S&P 500 has seen muted action this week,
barely moving 0.4 percent in either direction daily.
There may be increased volatility towards the close Friday
due to 'quadruple witching' - the quarterly settlement and
expiration of four different types of September e q uity futures
and options contracts. Expiration can lead to greater volume and
volatility as players adjust or exercise their derivative
"The option expiry is going to create this massive volume -
as it did on the opening - at the close," said Polcari.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 35.00 points,
or 0.26 percent, to 13,631.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 5.31 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,465.57. The
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 17.33 points, or 0.55
percent, to 3,193.29.
Apple Inc climbed 0.9 percent to $704.80, after
earlier hitting an all-time high of $704.85. The company's
iPhone 5 hit stores around the world, giving the consumer giant
a boost ahead of the crucial end-of-year holiday season, even as
rival Samsung Electronics Co steps up its legal
challenge over key technologies.
Housing shares advanced, led by an 8.8 percent jump in KB
Home to $14.27 after the fifth-largest U.S. homebuilder
posted a surprise quarterly profit and said its revenue backlog
rose to a four-year high. The PHLX housing sector index
climbed 2 percent.
Oracle Corp added 0.9 percent to $32.54 after the
software maker's first-quarter met Wall Street expectations, and
though the company hardware sales are expected to drop further
after tumbling 24 percent from a year ago..
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd surged 6.4 percent to
$55.85 after the company said it will likely earn more than it
expected in the second quarter as the fashion and accessory
designer banks on strong global sales.
Darden Restaurants Inc posted first-quarter earnings
that beat analysts' estimates, and the company stood by its
sales and profit forecast for the year. Shares rose 4.5 percent
Vivus Inc plunged 11 percent to $21.11 after the
company said it expects a European committee to recommend
against the approval of its obesity drug Qsiva, based on
preliminary feedback from the committee.