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March 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM EDT
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.
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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