Stocks Extend Gains on Apple Profits

U.S. stocks rallied for a second day on Wednesday, getting a lift from Apple Inc. and after Fed chief Bernanke said interest-rate policy is in the right place. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 89.16 points, or 0.69%, to 13,090.72. The S&P 500 added 18.72 points, or 1.36%, to 1,390.69. The Nasdaq Composite rose 68.03 points, or 2.30%, to 3,029.63.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported that robust demand for the iPhone in China fueled a 94 percent surge in quarterly profit. Net income in the fiscal second quarter climbed to $11.6 billion, or $12.30 a share, as sales rose 59 percent to $39.2 billion.
 
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that he is comfortable with the current stance of interest rate policy given the forecast that economic growth will remain moderate over coming quarters and then only pick up gradually.

H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) on Tuesday agreed to pay $28 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that the firm was allegedly misleading investors by failing to disclose that mortgage-backed securities its mortgage subsidiary issued had a significantly deteriorating financial condition.

Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) on Wednesday reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $134 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with a profit of $160 million, or 59 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue was $559 million, down from $587.9 million.

Chevron Corp.’s (NYSE:CVX) board of directors announced late Wednesday it is raising its quarterly dividend 11.1% to 90 cents a share, payable June 11, 2012 to shareholders of record on May 18.

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