U.S. stocks climbed modestly higher, despite some negative developments with market behemoths Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Citigroup (NYSE: C).

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 51 points, or 0.4%, according to early tallies. The broad S&P 500 (SPX) index edged up nearly 2 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq (COMP), a proxy for the technology sector, added 10 points, or 0.4%.

Apple shares tumbled 2.25 percent on worries about CEP Steve Jobs’ health in the wake of his medical leave, ahead of first quarter earnings to be released today after the close.
Cit shares plunged 6.04 percent on disappointing earnings results.

However, this weakness was partially offset by strength in Boeing (NYSE: BA) which climbed 3.43 percent (the company had announced that its delivery of the long-awaited 787 Dreamliner would be pushed back till the third quarter of 2011).

The New York Fed’s Empire Manufacturing Survey edged up to 11.92 in January, largely as expected. Separately, the National Association of Homebuilder's Housing Market Index for January came in unchanged at 16, as expected.

Oil futures fell to $91.22/barrel, gold futures rose to $1,368.10 an ounce.

Bonds fell as the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up to 3.36 percent.