* Apple up more than 2 pct, boosts Nasdaq
* More upside momentum seen in equities: analysts
* Indexes: Dow flat, S&P up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on Monday,
boosted by the tech sector, as Wall Street extended a rally that
pushed the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs last week on
improving earnings and reassuring signs about the economy.
Apple shares were among the top gainers after
Barclays raised its price target on the stock. Apple shares were
up more than 2 percent at $460.67 and giving the biggest boosts
to the Nasdaq composite index and benchmark S&P.
Market watchers said there is more room for stocks to rise
as investors use weakness in the market as an opportunity to add
"Until we see a clear change in momentum, pullbacks should
still be viewed as long-term buying opportunities," said Randy
Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives
at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
"With that said, a completely unexpected event could easily
spark a pullback, especially at these lofty levels, so active
traders intending to stay long should also consider maintaining
downside hedges. I remain on high alert for a potentially larger
correction in May or early June."
Although weak economic data from the euro zone and China has
caused concerns over the global growth outlook, Friday's
stronger-than-expected U.S. payrolls report fueled the gains
that took the indexes to record levels.
Equities have been strong so far this year, with the S&P 500
up more than 13 percent in 2013 on the back of strong corporate
earnings and accommodating monetary policies that have kept
interest rates low.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 3.13 points,
or 0.02 percent, at 14,977.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 3.40 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,617.82. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.24 points, or 0.39
percent, at 3,391.87.
Shares of MBIA jumped nearly 50 percent to $14.46
following a news report regarding a settlement of ongoing
dispute with Bank of America. Bank of
America shares were up 4 percent at $12.74.
Humana Inc jumped 2.5 percent to $75.85 as one of
S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers. JPMorgan upgraded the
stock to "overweight."
But Johnson & Johnson shares were down 1 percent at
$84.90, weighing on the blue-chip Dow average.
BMC Software Inc agreed to be acquired by a private
equity group led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital Corp
for about $6.9 billion. Shares were up 0.2 percent to $45.50.
Tyson Foods Inc reported a steep drop in its
second-quarter earnings as customers switched to chicken from
beef to save money. The stock dropped 4.5 percent to $23.88, the
biggest percentage decliner on the S&P 500.
The U.S. Treasury said it will begin another round of sales
of General Motors stock acquired during the government's
bailout of the auto sector. GM stock was down
0.2 percent at $32.03 in midday trade.
Of the 404 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings so far, 68.3 percent have beaten earnings expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters data, though only 46.3 percent have
reported revenue above expectations. Over the past four
quarters, 67 percent of companies beat on earnings and 52
percent beat revenue estimates.
Warren Buffett said on Monday low interest rates have made
bonds "terrible" investments, but stocks are "reasonably
priced," and he continues to shy away from sectors such as media
where he cannot predict which will thrive in the long run.