December 23, 2013: Markets opened higher on Monday and remained well above the flat line all day. More opportunistic buying among value seekers probably gets the credit for the index increases on a light trading day. The DJIA closed up 0.45%, the S&P 500 closed up 0.53%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.08%.
The big mover today was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), the largest component on the Nasdaq Composite index, which announced a weekend deal to sell its iPhones to China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), the largest wireless carrier in the world with 763 million customers. Apple’s shares opened about 3.4% higher and closed up 3.84% at $570.09 in a 52-week range of $385.10 to $575.14. Volume was about 50% above the daily average.
Among heavily traded DJIA stocks, today’s biggest gainer was Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) on a day when it traded about 75% of its average daily volume of nearly 47 million shares. An analyst’s report said that the stock is both Buy-rated and undervalued which may account for the 2.08% share price jump today. The stock closed at $21.57 in a 52-week range of $19.31 to $26.49.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) continues to recover from a weak earnings report issued last week. The shares opened up about 0.4% and took another jump later in the morning the left the stock trading right around $90 a share for the rest of the day. The stock closed up 1.16% at $89.96 in a 52-week range of $72.49 to $99.70. Trading was about 12% above the average daily volume of around 5 million shares.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) opened about 0.5% higher this morning and picked up nicely following the report on U.S. consumer sentiment. Investors are getting the message that Obamacare is a good thing for insurers. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 5.2 million. The stock closed up 1.36% at $74.35 in a 52-week range of $51.36 to $75.88.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 8 closed lower today and 22 closed higher.