Stocks Ended Gains, Boosted By Apple

U.S. stocks closed out a low-volume session with minor gains on Monday, supported by housing data and Apple Inc.’s plans for a dividend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.51 points, or 0.05%, to 13,239.13. The S&P 500 added 5.58 points, or 0.40%, to 1,409.75. The Nasdaq Composite rose 23.06 points, or 0.75%, to 3,078.32.

Revenues in most U.S. states increased in the fourth quarter of 2011, but their recent surge is tapering off, as they grew just 2.7 percent from the final quarter of 2010, according to a report released on Monday.

The Treasury Department said on Monday it made a $25 billion profit on sales of mortgage-backed securities acquired during the financial crisis, part of its ongoing efforts to wind down taxpayer-financed bailout programs.

Apple Inc. said Monday afternoon that the new iPad sold about 3 million units since its initial launch on Friday, March 16. In a statement after the closing bell, Apple said it will expand distribution of the device to 24 additional countries on March 23. The new iPad launched in the U.S. and nine other countries last week.

Adobe Systems Inc, maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, reported lower revenue growth as sales slowed ahead of major upgrades to the company’s Creative Suite line of digital media programs later this year. Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $1.045 billion in its fiscal first quarter ended March 2.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) said late Monday it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million. Kiva makes robotic shelf and pallet systems for warehouses. Amazon expects to close the deal in the second quarter. Kiva will remain headquartered in North Reading, Mass The owners of the New York Mets agreed to pay $162 million to settle a lawsuit by the trustee seeking money for the victims of Bernard Madoff’s fraud, a deal that eases pressure on the owners of the cash-strapped baseball team.

Oil futures ended 1% higher Monday. Oil for April delivery (NMN:CLJ2) gained $1.03 to settle at $108.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its best in more than two weeks.

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