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Stocks Open Mixed As Europe Holds Off On Stimulus

By MATTHEW CRAFT

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Apple and other technology companies led the stock market up for the second day in a row Thursday.

The gains came a day after Apple took its worst fall in four years. In separate interviews, CEO Tim Cook said Apple will produce one of its Mac computers in the United States next year and will spend $100 million in 2013 to shift production of the line from China.

The tech giant's stock gained $8.45 to $547.24

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.55 points to close at 13,074.04. Intel led the Dow, rising 31 cents to $20.16.

Investors' biggest concern remains the automatic tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled to start Jan. 1. "Everybody is paying close attention to the soap opera in Washington," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the White House and Republicans could reach an agreement "in about a week" if the Republicans drop their opposition to raising taxes on making more than $250,000 a year.

Most investors believe President Obama and Congressional Republicans will strike a budget deal to avoid this "fiscal cliff" before the year is out. Until they reach an agreement, however, the stock market will likely be hostage to news out of Washington.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.66 points to 1,413.94, while the Nasdaq composite climbed 15.57 points to 2,989.27. In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ended the day at 1.59 percent, the same as late Wednesday.

The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment benefits applications dropped 25,000 last week to 370,000, a level consistent with modest hiring. The decline was also a sign that the spike in applications caused by Superstorm Sandy has faded.

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