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Stocks Finish Mixed; Apple Casts Shadow


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wall Street finished mixed on Tuesday with the Dow pushed higher by positive earnings reports and a dividend hike from IBM (IBM), and the Nasdaq tripped up by weakness in Apple (AAPL - Get Report).

The market put aside worries about Europe for the day, instead focusing on solid numbers from AT&T (T) and 3M (MMM), as well as Big Blue's plans to boost its quarterly payout by 13% and buy back up to $7 billion worth of its stock.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 74 points, or 0.6%, to close at 13,001. Earlier in the session, the price-weighted index ran as high as 13,050. The S&P 500 tacked on 5 points or 0.4% to finish at 1372.

The Nasdaq slipped 8 points, or 0.3%, to settle at 2961. Apple was a headwind for the index, falling 2%. Shares of the iPad and iPhone maker have now fallen in 10 of the past 11 sessions.

It was a different story after the closing bell though as the stock flew more than 7% higher in the extended session. The iconic company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $12.30 a share on revenue of $39.2 billion, trouncing Wall Street's expectations for a profit of $10.04 a share.

The company sold 35.1 million iPhones during the quarter, up 88% from a year ago. The third-quarter outlook looks light however. Apple expects earnings of $8.68 a share in the June-ending period on revenue of $34 billion, below the current consensus view for a profit of $9.93 a share on revenue of $37.45 billion.

Tuesday's economic data was benign with consumer confidence coming in slightly below expectations but new home sales and the Case-Shiller home price index supportive of slow but continuing improvement in the housing market.

Within the Dow, 23 of the index's 30 components finished in the green on Tuesday. Breadth in the broad market was positive as well with winners outpacing the losers by 2 to 1.

The biggest percentage gainer among the blue chips was AT&T, whose shares rose nearly 4%. Before the opening bell, the company easily beat Wall Street's earnings estimate with its performance boosted by strong wireless sales and its smartphone business.

The telecom giant brought in revenue of $31.82 billion, an increase of 1.8% from the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for sales of $31.85 billion. Excluding items, AT&T earned 60 cents a share, up from 57 cents a share in the prior year's quarter and above Wall Street's estimate of 57 cents.

IBM said its board has approved a quarterly cash dividend of 85 cents a share, up from a prior payout of 75 cents a share, payable June 9 to shareholders of record on May 10. The fresh $7 billion addition to its buyback program will bring IBM's total current repurchase authorization to $12.7 billion, and the company said it plans to request more buyback power from the board in October. Shares added 0.6% to close at $200.
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