4:15 PM New York – U.S. indexes extend five-month rally and the S&P 500 index closed at a 4-year high. Crude oil, gold and copper traded higher. Apple Inc gained 2% to a new high and announced plans to distribute $45 billion over the next three years.
U.S. stocks were little changed in early afternoon trading and commodities were on the rise. Home builder confidence was steady in March after rising for five months in a row but and was at its highest since June 2007.
U.S. said it sold off the final tranche of mortgage securities last week it purchased to save Fannie and Freddie during the 2008 crisis.
Apple Inc was in focus after the maker of popular electronic gadgets said it will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share and buy back $10 billion of its stock.
The company has $97.6 billion in cash and for years the company has resisted calls to install shareholder dividend.
In corporate news, AboveNet agreed to be acquired by Zayo Group for $2.2 billion. Hastings Entertainment fourth quarter net loss swung to $8.4 million and InterOil Corp. fourth quarter net income swung to $13.2 million. United Parcel Service agreed to acquire TNT Express N.V. for $6.8 billion in cash and the company is expected take $3 billion in additional debt to pay for the purchase.
European indexes edged lower and the euro area construction output fell in January but UK home prices rose in March. UPS agreed to acquire TNT Express in $6.77 billion cash.
Stocks in Tokyo advanced for the fifth day in a row and the yen struggled near 11-month low. Utilities were in focus after Osaka City is said to demand Kansai Electric to shutdown all 11 nuclear power plants. Marubeni is in a deal buy wind power engineering company.
Australian markets advanced on the rising commodities prices and comments from the IMF chief. David Jones halted stock ahead of the strategic review. Qantas unions campaign to save jobs at three aircraft maintenance facilities.
Commodities, Bonds and Currencies
The 10-year U.S. bond yield increased to 2.36% and 30-year U.S. bond closed higher to 3.47%.
The U.S. dollar decreased to $1.324 to one euro and eased against the Japanese yen to 83.32 yen.
Immediate delivery futures of Texas crude oil increased 93 cents to $107.99 a barrel and Brent crude futures fell 29 cents to $125.52. Futures of natural gas increased 0.02 cents to $2.34 per mbtu and gasoline price increased 0.8 cents to 3336.47 cents a gallon.
In metals trading, copper rose 2.65 cents to $3.90 per pound, gold added $7.30 to $1,663.10 per ounce and silver increased 31 cents to $32.91.