Stocks were little changed on Monday, hovering near 4-year highs, while shares of Apple rose after it said it will begin paying a dividend and buy back stock.
With a heavy weighting on several indexes, Apple has often dictated market direction. The stock has a 50-day correlation of 0.95 with the S&P, which many analysts say was a big reason for the benchmark's run-up.
Although we had seen (Apple) coming, when reality hits there's still some confusion out there among traders, which was reflected in the early volatility, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.
We've had this uninterrupted rally since mid-December, but still we have a lot of money sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a correction.
Ipad maker Apple will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 and buy back up to $10 billion of its stock. Speculation heated up in recent weeks over how the world's most valuable publicly traded company might use its $98 billion cash stockpile.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 23.34 points, or 0.18 percent, at 13,209.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 1.33 points, or 0.09 percent, at 1,405.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 6.94 points, or 0.23 percent, at 3,062.20.
On Friday, the S&P 500 had its fifth straight weekly gain and its best week in three months. The index has risen in seven of the past eight sessions, climbing 4.5 percent.
Investors, buoyant over the economic outlook, have pushed the S&P above 1,400 to its highest level since May 2008.
United Parcel Service Inc
On the economic front, U.S. homebuilder sentiment was unchanged in March, holding at its highest level since June 2007, while sentiment in February was revised lower. Market reaction was muted.
(Reporting By Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)