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Dow Notches Up New All-time High

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Dow Notches Up New All-time High

Stocks started the US trading session mixed, with the Dow Industrials index poised to set a new all-time high. This year has been kind to equity investors, and there is some precedence for a continuation of a rally moving into 2014. The major data point of the week with by the purchasing manager’s index released on Friday by the Institution of Supply Management. Stocks finished the trading session the way they opened with the Dow notching up a new all-time high and the S&P 500 along with the Nasdaq closing in the red.

Apple’s board, over the weekend, recommended shareholders vote against investor Carl Icahn’s proposal that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) buy back $50 billion in shares in fiscal 2014. The company said it had already returned $43 billion to shareholders during the first six months of a $100 billion capital return program.

Jobless claims could be significantly affected as federal emergency benefits will end when funds run out for a program created during the recession to supplement the benefits that states provide. The cutoff will initially affect 1.3 million people, but 1.9 million more will lose benefits by mid-2014 when their 26 weeks of state paychecks run out, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX) has agreed to pay $200 million to acquire a 13% stake in Crocs(NASDAQ:CROX) . Blackstone will receive newly issued preferred equity that it can convert into common shares and which will have a cash dividend rate of 6%. The private-equity firm will also receive two board seats.

In economic news, The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.2 percent to 101.7 in November from a downwardly revised 101.5 in October, but is 1.6 percent below November 2012 when it was 103.3. The data reflect contracts but not closings.

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