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.