* Apple up more than 2 pct, boosts Nasdaq
* More upside momentum seen in equities: analysts
* Indexes: Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 6 U.S. stocks inched higher on
Monday, lifted by financials and Apple shares, as Wall Street
extended a rally that pushed the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs
Shares of MBIA jumped nearly 50 percent to $14.46
following a news report regarding a settlement of ongoing
dispute with Bank of America. Bank of
America shares were up 4 percent at $12.74. The S&P 500
financial gained 1.1 percent.
Apple shares were among the top gainers after
Barclays raised its price target on the stock. Apple shares were
up 2.3 percent at $460.33 and led the Nasdaq composite index and
benchmark S&P 500 higher.
The gains follow a strong run in stocks since the start of
the year. Accommodating monetary policies that have kept
interest rates low as well as solid earnings have helped to keep
the market up. The S&P 500 is up 13.5 percent since Dec. 31.
"Basically since the beginning of the year, the bulls have
remained in control of this market," said Michael James,
managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los
"As long as you continue to have decent earnings reports and
support from the central banks, it will be hard to derail the
market, at least in the short term."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 6.36 points,
or 0.04 percent, at 14,980.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.18 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,618.60. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.40 points, or 0.43
percent, at 3,393.03.
Although weak economic data from the euro zone and China has
caused concerns over the global growth outlook, Friday's
stronger-than-expected U.S. payrolls report fueled the gains
that took the indexes to record levels.
Humana Inc jumped 2.5 percent to $75.85 as one of
S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers. JPMorgan upgraded the
stock to "overweight."
But Johnson & Johnson shares were down 1 percent at
$84.90, weighing on the blue-chip Dow average.
The U.S. Treasury said it will begin another round of sales
of General Motors stock acquired during the government's
bailout of the auto sector. GM stock was down
0.2 percent at $32.03 in midday trade.
Of the 404 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings so far, 68.3 percent have beaten earnings expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters data, though only 46.3 percent have
reported revenue above expectations. Over the past four
quarters, 67 percent of companies beat on earnings and 52
percent beat revenue estimates.
Warren Buffett said on Monday low interest rates have made
bonds "terrible" investments, but stocks are "reasonably
priced," and he continues to shy away from sectors such as media
where he cannot predict which will thrive in the long run.