Apple Announces Dividend, Markets Open Mixed

The markets opened mixed with the Dow losing 10 points to 13,222 while Nasdaq added 4 points to 3059. Apple will pay its first quarterly dividend in nearly 17 years and announced a $10 billion stock repurchase plan.

On the upside

Zayo Group will take AboveNet (NYSE: ABVT) private in an all cash deal valued at approximately $2.2 billion.

Analysts lifted their price target and earnings estimate for United States Steel (NYSE: X).

JMP Securities lifted its price target for Threshold Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: THLD) to $12 per share from $7 per share.

On the downside

Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded Sprint (NYSE: S) to an Underperform rating saying that the company will not be able to sell the 25 million to 30 million iPhones that it committed to selling over four years.

A Seeking Alpha contributor wrote that Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) was unlikely to acquire Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD).

Merck will no longer develop the oral formulation of its atrial fibrillation recurrence prevention medication vernakalant with Cardiome Pharma (Nasdaq: CRME).

In the broad market, declining issues edged out advancers by a slim margin on the NYSE and while advancers outpaced decliners by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 831.

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