Deal-Making Pushes Stocks Higher

Investors were in a good mood today on a number of positive developments in the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) are both up 0.49% near the end of trading. Of course, hope for a fiscal-cliff solution was the overarching sentiment, but there were more detailed items that helped push stocks higher.

The Fed began its rate-setting meeting today and will announce monetary policy decisions tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. EST. Investors are hoping the Fed will ease some of the fiscal-cliff tension, so there's a lot of attention on Ben Bernanke this week. Today, the Treasury sold $32 billion of three-year notes with a record-low 0.327% yield, so investors are expecting the Fed to keep rates low.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) jumped 3.1% after Chinese partner Unicom announced it had sold 300,000 preordered iPhones that will go on sale Friday. The iPhone is still a hot consumer item, and this stock has been treated as if Apple has lost its touch recently, but at least today is a good day.

Shares of AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) jumped 5.1% today after the Treasury said it had sold its remaining shares in the company. In the end, the treasury made a $22.7 billion profit on the $182 billion bailout of AIG. This doesn't really change AIG's business, but it will grant management more flexibility. It's unknown at this point whether that's a good thing or not.

Finally, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL  ) jumped 6.8% after announcing that it bought a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. Richard Branson will retain control of the company. At the very least, this gives Delta a little bit of a "cool" factor to be associated with Branson.

Is Apple a buy today?
There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with gains of more than 1,000%. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on reasons both to buy and to sell Apple, as well as what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thoughts on Apple, simply click here now.


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