* Apple's stock up 1.4 pct, one day after worst drop since
* Broader moves limited on 'fiscal cliff' uncertainty
* Sirius sets long-awaited stock buyback and dividend
* Indexes: Dow off 0.1 pct, S&P 500 off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Dec 6 U.S. stocks drifted near the
unchanged mark on Thursday as investors postponed big bets
before the November employment report on Friday, but technology
stocks rose on gains in Apple and Broadcom.
Monthly payroll numbers, to be released by the Labor
Department, are expected to show a sharp slowdown in jobs growth
because of superstorm Sandy.
Broadcom boosted other semiconductor companies a
day after it forecast fourth-quarter revenue at the high end of
its target range due to slightly better-than-expected sales in
its mobile business. Shares rose 1.9 percent to $32.97.
The S&P technology index was the best performing of
the 10 major S&P sectors, gaining 0.36 percent. The PHLX
semiconductor index rose 0.5 percent.
Apple was up 1.4 percent after losing as much as 3.7 percent
at the open. The stock suffered its biggest one-day drop in four
years on Wednesday due to concerns about higher capital gains
taxes in 2013 and the company's market share in the tablet
Apple Inc's rank in China's smartphone market fell
to No. 6 in the third quarter as it faces tougher competition
from Chinese brands, research firm IDC said.
Broader moves were limited, however, as traders focused on
the "fiscal cliff" debate. About three weeks remain before a
series of tax increases and spending cuts would begin that could
slow growth. Legislators are trying to come up with a deal to
avoid some of the negative effects on the economy while still
reducing the U.S. budget deficit.
While Republican leaders in the U.S. House of
Representatives insist that raising tax rates on the rich is not
negotiable, some GOP lawmakers now see it as inevitable to avoid
the fiscal cliff.
"As we get close to the last two weeks, things will pick
up," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at Rosenblatt
Securities in New York. Congress and the White House will have
final discussions near the end of the year about how to handle
the "fiscal cliff," he said.
Without action from Congress, tax cuts on capital gains and
dividends will expire at the end of 2012, which has contributed
to selling certain stocks that have done extremely well in
recent years, such as Apple.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 7.93 points,
or 0.06 percent, at 13,026.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
fell 0.14 point, or 0.01 percent, at 1,409.14. The Nasdaq
Composite Index gained 8.31 points, or 0.28 percent, at
Sirius XM Radio shares rose 1.4 percent to $2.81
after its board approved a $2 billion stock repurchase and
declared a special dividend, giving a big payout to its largest
shareholder, Liberty Media, which rose 2.3 percent to
Garmin shares rose 4.5 percent to $41.49 after
Standard & Poor's said it would add the navigation device maker
to the S&P 500 index. Garmin will replace R.R. Donnelley & Sons
after the close of trading on Dec. 11.