US equity markets closed mixed ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium of central bankers but shares in Apple rose after the iPhone maker won the patent battle against Samsung and was awarded more than $1bn in damages.
In the first trading session of the week, the biggest US company by market capitalisation hit a record high, gaining 1.9 per cent to $675.48. The stock has added 2.4 per cent over the past week due to investor anticipation over a possible launch of the iPhone 5 in September.
Analysts noted the significance of the court verdict ahead of the new product launch by Apple while a ban on certain Samsung products would also benefit the company.
Scott Sutherland, analyst at Wedbush, who set a 12-month target price at $800, said: “Apple indicated that it would file for a sales injunction against Samsung in seven days with a hearing likely planned on September 20. Given Samsung has by far been Apple’s strongest competitor in the smartphone market, we believe a sales injunction would be a meaningful positive for Apple.”
Mr Sutherland added that the ruling would also be a blow to Google’s Android system, which has been the biggest competitor to Apple’s iOS operating system. Google dropped 1.4 per cent to $669.22.
Michael Walkley, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said: “We believe this verdict strengthens Apple’s already strong competitive position in the smartphone and tablet markets ahead of upcoming key product launches such as the iPhone 5.”
Facebook still traded below the $20 benchmark. Shares in the social networking website decreased 1.3 per cent to $19.15.
Shares in Kenexa shot up 41.4 per cent to $45.79.
Among the 10 S&P 500 sectors, the information technology index was the leader on Monday and increased 0.2 per cent.
The defensive telecommunications sector was the second-worst performer, losing 0.5 per cent.
Overall, the S&P 500 ticked down 0.1 per cent to 1,410.44. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3 per cent to 13,124.67 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index added 0.1 per cent to 3,073.19.
Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, said: “The week before the unofficial end of summer is typically a lazy affair. This year, however, investors’ anxiety meter will probably show an elevated reading as they are mindful of a variety of end-of-month events here in the US, combined with a September-loaded series of European elections, meetings and court rulings that could have fortune- altering consequences.”
Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said: “The small pullback in the S&P 500 is by no means a problem in a market that was up 10 per cent in three months. [But] remember, markets never go straight up and small pullbacks are healthy as they often help to avoid bigger ones.”
Elsewhere, Best Buy gained 3.2 per cent to $17.87 as the electronic retailer said its board had reached an agreement with founder Richard Schulze, who was allowed to conduct due diligence and form an investment group with private equity sponsors for a possible takeover.
Shares in AOL gained 2.9 per cent to $33.86 after the digital media company said it had entered into a $600m stock repurchase agreement with Barclays and would declare special dividends of $5.15 a share.
Hertz jumped 8.1 per cent to $14.21 after the car hire company said it would acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for $2.3bn. Shares in Dollar Thrifty added 7.5 per cent to $87.08.
Hudson City climbed 15.7 per cent to $7.45 after M&T Bank Corp said it was buying the New Jersey-based lender for $3.7bn in a move to expand M&T’s presence on the US east coast. Shares in M&T rose 4.6 per cent to $89.82.
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