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People waiting for the new iPad are reflected in the window of an Apple store in Munich on March 16, 2012. (Michaela Rehle/Reuters/Michaela Rehle/Reuters)
People waiting for the new iPad are reflected in the window of an Apple store in Munich on March 16, 2012. (Michaela Rehle/Reuters/Michaela Rehle/Reuters)

At the open: Dow, TSX little changed, despite strong financials Add to ...

North American stocks were relatively flat soon after the start of trading on Monday, despite another day of gains for U.S. banks and a warm reception to news that Apple Inc. will start paying a dividend.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 13,227. The broader S&P 500 rose 3 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1,407. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 58 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,555.

Apple rose 1.6 per cent after it announced a decision to start paying a dividend of $2.65 (U.S.) a share and use $10-billion for share buybacks – at last addressing what the iPad maker will do with some of its enormous cash hoard. Still, futures activity had suggested a bigger gain, taking the shares above the $600-level. They recently traded at about $594.

Meanwhile, Bank of America Corp. broke the $10-a-share barrier after it continued its recent winning streak, rising another 2.1 per cent. Among other banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 0.7 per cent.

However, consumer-oriented stocks looked weak: Home Depot Inc. fell 0.6 per cent and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell 0.5 per cent.

In Canada, financials showed some of the biggest gains: Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.4 per cent, Bank of Montreal rose 0.5 per cent and Manulife Financial Corp. rose 1.1 per cent.

Viterra Inc. , which is now weighing takeover offers, was not trading.

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