January 18, 2011 / 9:16 AM / 9 years ago

Wall Street up as Google, Caterpillar offset Apple's drop

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, overcoming weak Citigroup results and concerns circling Apple after news of Chief Executive Steve Jobs’ medical leave.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs holds the new " iPad" during the launch of Apple's new tablet computing device in San Francisco, California, January 27, 2010. REUTERS/Kimberly White

Investors focused instead on increased price targets for Google (GOOG.O), which reports later this week, and Dow component Caterpillar (CAT.N), whose results are due next week.

Shares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) slipped 2.3 percent to $340.65 ahead of its quarterly earnings, after the company said Jobs is taking his third medical leave since 2004.

Shares of the bellwether technology company pared earlier losses and eased pressure on stock indexes. Apple has about a 21 percent weighting in the Nasdaq 100 .NDX, which edged up 0.2 percent.

“To me, it seemed like the news was troubling for the company, but it’s Apple, it ain’t going to matter,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director of Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.

After the closing bell, Apple Inc reported better-than-expected revenue, fueled by blockbuster holiday sales of the iPhone and iPad, sending shares up 4.3 percent to $355.22 in extended trade.

Before the earnings were released, Massocca had said he believed the iPad maker would report strong results and “shorts will be picking shards of glass out of their eyes.”

During the regular session, the news about Apple and its stock decline were offset by a gain in shares of Google, up 2.5 percent at $639.63. Google’s stock advanced after several brokerages raised their price target on the company’s stock ahead of the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine’s earnings later this week.

The Dow also rose moderately, boosted by gains in Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) . The heavy equipment maker’s stock was up 2.8 percent at $96.23 after Raymond James raised its price target to $116 from $95.

Also lifting the Dow was Boeing Co (BA.N), which gained 3.4 percent to $72.47 after the plane maker alleviated fears about the delivery schedule of its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner jet.

After the close, International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) advanced 2.7 percent to $154.70 after the company reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.

Optimism about earnings has helped bolster stocks in recent weeks, with the S&P 500 posting its seventh straight week of gains on Friday.

Aside from Apple, gains were tempered in regular trading by Citigroup Inc (C.N) . Shares of Citigroup fell 6.4 percent to $4.80 after the No. 3 U.S. bank reported a sharp drop in bond trading revenue that pushed profits below expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 50.55 points, or 0.43 percent, to end at 11,837.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX added 1.78 points, or 0.14 percent, to 1,295.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC gained 10.55 points, or 0.38 percent, at 2,765.85.

Earlier, the Dow traded as high intraday as 11,858.78, a fresh 52-week high. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also climbed intraday and closed just slightly below their fresh 52-week highs.

The financial SPDR exchange-traded fund (XLF.P) was off 0.5 percent and the KBW bank index .BKX dropped 1.2 percent after recent gains. Stronger-than-expected results from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) last Friday buoyed optimism about bank stocks, which had rallied in recent weeks.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) was down 1.6 percent at $15.00. The bank is set to report results later this week.

Volume was fair with about 8.5 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, slightly above last year’s estimated daily average of 8.47 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,626 to 1,374, while on the Nasdaq, decliners slightly beat advancers by 1,369 to 1,278.

Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal

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