Stocks open higher on Spain, iPhone 5 launch

Apple begins selling its latest smartphone worldwide. Spain and the European Commission are reportedly discussing reforms that would lead to a bailout. McDonald's and several other companies increase their dividends.

By Melly Alazraki Sep 21, 2012 9:24AM
stock marketLast updated 12:42 p.m. ET

Stocks opened on a positive note, boosted by a report that Spain and the European Commission are working on reforms that could lead to bailout of the country. Investors are also following the worldwide retail launch of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 31 points at 13,628. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up 4 points at 1,464. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was up 14 points at 3,190.

European Union authorities are reportedly working with the Spanish government on an economic reform plan that could pave the way for a new rescue program, the Financial Times reported Friday, citing unnamed sources. Implementation of such a plan could boost investor confidence.

With reports of a possible bailout for Europe's fourth-largest economy coming soon, European markets were higher Friday. The euro advanced against the dollar and the yen as a result, while the dollar weakened against both.
Earlier, Asian markets finished Friday's trading session on an upbeat note. Positive sentiment from Apple's iPhone 5 retail launch, which spread over technology and telecom stocks, helped markets move higher.

Apple launches the iPhone 5
With no U.S. economic data due out Friday, the retail launch of the iPhone 5 around the world took center stage. It is the first major redesign of the iPhone in two years, and it already had a successful preorder period.

As usual, long lines began to form outside Apple stores in several cities around the world. The crowds reinforce estimates from analysts that the iPhone 5 will be the largest consumer-electronics debut in history, Bloomberg reported. Apple may sell as many as 10 million iPhones during the weekend sales rush, according to Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray.

While analysts have high sales expectations, the phone has been widely criticized, and many consumers are disappointed with some of the features, especially changes to the device's software. A successful launch is crucial for Apple, which now depends on the iPhone for the majority of both its revenue and profit.

The stock has surged more than 70% this year, in part on anticipation of the new iPhone as well as speculation about other products. Apple, whose shares broke $700 this week, is the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization.

Companies announcing dividend hike
McDonald's (MCD) said its board of directors approved a 10% increase in the restaurant chain's quarterly dividend on common stock, to 77 cents a share. The new dividend is payable Dec. 17 to stockholders of record as of Dec. 3.

Texas Instruments' (TXN) also plans to increase its dividend, to 21 cents a share, a 24% increase from the current quarterly payout of 17 cents.

Covidien (COV) declared a 16% increase in its quarterly dividend paid on the ordinary shares, to 26 cents a share.

Other stocks to watch
Research In Motion (RIMM) shares slumped after reports of a BlackBerry service outage in Europe.

Oracle (ORCL) edged up after the software maker posted fiscal-first-quarter earnings that met Wall Street expectations but said hardware sales are expected to drop further after tumbling 24% from a year ago.

Michael Kors (KORS) shares advanced after the fashion and accessory designer said it will likely earn more than it earlier expected in the second quarter from strong global sales.

General Motors (GM) is recalling 473,841 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn sedans globally to fix a condition that could cause the cars to roll when the drivers think they are in park, Reuters reported.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) posted first-quarter earnings that topped analysts' estimates, and the company stood by its sales and profit forecast for the year.

Vivus (VVUS) shares slipped after the company said it expects a European committee to recommend against the approval of its obesity drug Qsiva, based on preliminary feedback from the committee. Rival Arena (ARNA) shares, meanwhile, gained.

KB Home (KBH) shares soared after the homebuilder reported quarterly earnings of 4 cents per share that were much better than the anticipated losses.

Sep 21, 2012 9:56AM
"I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."

-Thomas Sowell,
Sep 21, 2012 10:30AM
Islam, the religion of peace. And if you don't agree with that, they will cut your head off and parade it down main street. 
Sep 21, 2012 10:44AM
According to liberals, a successful person should not take all of their legal deductions or tax shelters. They should gladly pay more taxes to the Gov't because the gov't has such a great track record of spending it wisely. 
I'm sure Biden and Obama paid the full percentage on their GROSS income, before deductions, because that's what good socialist do.
Sep 21, 2012 9:33AM

interesting article in the LA Times this morning. 


seems the golden goose for "green' energy projects has been california.  the grants and low % gov't backed loans yielded 10% to 17% returns for the investors.  AND the good old govenor Brown signing a bill requiring the 33% of our state's electric to be acquired from green sources. 


the net result is the electric bills for everyone in the state will go up 50% over the next several years. 


i bought my own system 7 years ago.  $9k out of pocket, it paid for itself by about now.  with a 25 year warantee it has 18 more years of free juice coming to me. 


seems if you do it yourself, the investment works.  let the government do it and it'll cost you dearly! 

Sep 21, 2012 9:44AM
We need FAIR TRADE agreements, not FREE TRADE.
Sep 21, 2012 10:46AM
Obama has now placed his emblem on the American flag.................He is untouchable, in his mind........................NO MORE OBAMA un 2012!!!!
Sep 21, 2012 10:59AM
Saw Romney speak in Sarasota, yesterday.  He did a good job.  I estimate the crowd in excess of 5,000.  The local liberal media read:  "Hundreds showed for Romney."   More press was given to the 30-40 "protesters'  who screamed at the thousands of  attendees as they stood in line to enter to out-door arena.  The protesters had that OWS look.  I had to laugh when one large cow of a girl screamed over and over at me to GET EDUCATED!  YOU'RE A FACIST!   I would bet my two degrees exceed whatever this b**** earned in school.
Sep 21, 2012 10:31AM

<<<I want to sue Obama for breach of contract. He made a contract with every US Citzen when he said he would not seek re-election if he could not keep unemployment below 8%.>>>


I'm sure he'll have a logical explanation why he didn't  mean that like the "you didn't build that, someone else did" comment. Unfortunately he may get his under 8% number when more Americans keep running out of benefits.

Sep 21, 2012 9:52AM
Line started forming last night at our local Apple store.   Not sure why the iPhone 5 is supposed to be so great, but then again, I've never owned an iPhone, or any other Apple product for that matter.  I'm a bit perplexed why anyone would see the need to get the 64GB model - seriously, if you have 64 gigs worth of stuff on your phone, you just might be using the damn thing WAY TOO MUCH!  And if the 64GB were full of actually important stuff, I'd be nervous about keeping all of it on that one little device.
Sep 21, 2012 10:44AM
When will Obama's treasury secretary ever be brought to justice for tax evasion?

When will Obama' energy secretary ever be held accountable for Solyndra and other Chicago style "green energy" fraud schemes?

When will the Obama's auto industry bondholder extortion scam be investigated?

 --- I guess after we finish enviously looking into Romney's full compliance with the tax code.

Sep 21, 2012 11:44AM
To the folks who rant on me:

I know redistribution is coming if Obama is re-elected. It's already started.
The thing is, just like Spain, New York and California,  the people with the big $, will not be effected. They will just move where they are stashing the money now.

Sep 21, 2012 10:33AM

Romney's father is one of 47% who will not be voting for him as he is dead.
Since most, if not all of the voting dead vote democrat...
Sep 21, 2012 10:53AM
I often wonder if the liberals get mad because they can't vote a thumbs up or thumbs down multiple times. It just goes against their nature.
Sep 21, 2012 11:44AM
"I see all the marshmallow for brains people are standing in line for a telephone"

One idiot called the new phone- life changing. A phone-- life changing? Pretty sure she has mush for brains and a text-only personality. In person... just a drone. Anyone catch the new Samsung ad with the Apple nuts waiting in line? One says-- "I can't wait, they changed the adapter so it plugs in the side now..." The crowd goes oooooh. Every aspect of the i-5 matches what Samsung already offers on the 3. I'm guessing that lawsuit favoring Apple was more political than judicial. What's in your wallet? Hopefully not Apple stock. Reports are already in that there are no supplies and the back order fulfillment will be dependent on Apple paying the Chinese factory workers more pay.

Close it down. Let's get back to real America, not this cardboard version of it!
Sep 21, 2012 11:46AM

Obama --  "I can't change Washington from the Inside"


Obama soon - "I can only hope the voters forget I said that"


There he goes with hope and change again.

Sep 21, 2012 10:11AM
Bailouts simply have been proven not to work, so here we(EU) go again with Spain.  On the Iphone 5; after the initial run is over, I do believe we will see a significant slowing in anticipated sales.  This is overmarketing hype by Apple.
Sep 21, 2012 10:18AM

Don't know about Cali. and their Green Energy initiatives, But the State is broke, beyond broke...


More Cities are filing for bankruptcy or on the cusp, up to 5-6 now?...And the State itself owes or has obligations, of more then they can collect or raise taxes to get....They CAN'T print money.


When Brown took over they were speaking of $25-30 Billion on the books for debt...Truth is, between

obligations for pensions, healthcare and paying for other products(probably voted in) for improvements in the State...They seemed to be on the hook for $250-$335 Billion....Down the road.

That is impossible to overcome and tax your way out of, or print specie, or even sell assets of.

What were/are they thinking ?.....The jig is up and it will not end well...

Funny thing, actually not; They are not alone, but they are probably the most in debt. 

Sep 21, 2012 10:26AM

I wonder how much Apple paid those people to stand in line and look like a bunch of idiots?  Or what kind of deep, deep discounts for the first 500 buyers!


What a joke!

Sep 21, 2012 11:53AM

Economy - Incomplete

Change - Incomplete

Hope - Incomplete

No new tax for healthcare - Incomplete

Strengthen Middleclass - Incomplete


Obama's missing school records.

Sep 21, 2012 10:45AM
The world economies are in the toilet,the dollar is crap,oil is way over priced and the market is in fantasy land. B  U  T   W  A  I  T  ! !  It's Friday,so reality doesn't matter !!! The market super hero  BSMAN is here  ! ! ! !
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