NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks finished Monday on a positive note as Apple's announcement of a new dividend and share buyback program offset the impact of a lukewarm housing report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 8.47 points to 13,224.15. The S&P 500 rose 5.58 points to 1,409.75 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 23.06 points to 3,078.32. Breadth within the Dow was positive with 17 of the index's 30 components posting gains. The biggest percentage gainers among the blue chips were American Express ( AXP) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM).
JPMorgan shares rose 46 cents, or 0.96%, to $45.00. Morgan Stanley lifted its earnings projections for the major banks. JPMorgan's first-quarter estimate was raised to a profit of $1.22 a share from $1.07. TheStreet Ratings gives JPMorgan a B+ grade with a buy rating and a $51.63 price target. Shares of American Express increased 1.27% to $57.27. TheStreet Ratings gives American Express an A+ grade with a buy rating and $65.51 price target. The biggest percentage decliners in the Dow were Bank of America ( BAC), Microsoft ( MSFT) and United Technologies ( UTX). Bank of America shares dropped 1.63% to $9.64. The company was one of five banks, including Citigroup ( C), that received revised loan-loss ratios from the Federal Reserve. The stock has also been on a tear of late, rising more than 20% last week, and some of the weakness may be the result of profit-taking after the shares reached the $10 mark during Monday's session. Bank of America has been the best performer in the Dow so far this year, rising 76% in 2012, after being the biggest drag on the blue chips in 2011 when the stock lost 58%. TheStreet Ratings gives Bank of America a C- grade and a hold rating. Microsoft shares dropped 1.27% to $32.19. The stock's price target was raised by Hilliard Lyons analysts on Monday to $37 from $31. "We view shares of MSFT as a core technology holding," Hilliard Lyons reports wrote in a report Monday. "We believe our $37.00 price target can be achieved within a 2-3 year time horizon and see expected continued growth in Microsoft's $0.20 quarterly dividend as positive for shareholders." The software company gets an A grade from TheStreet Ratings with a buy rating and a $37.94 price target. Shares of United Technologies fell 1.01% to $84.62. The industrial stock gets an A- grade from TheStreet Ratings with a buy rating and $100.36 price target. -- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alexandra Zendrian >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Alexandra Zendrian.