Down early in the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) rallied in the afternoon to close just a few points below its all-time record high set in Oct. 2007. The market continues to applaud reassurances from Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke -- reassurances that implied bond-buying measures would continue -- and the Dow added 38 points, or 0.27%, to close at 14,127.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , up more than any other stock in the index in the last year, continued its climb, adding 1.8%. The stock is up more than 48% since a year ago. Rallying on the heels of a share buyback program announced last week, not only did the company approve $17.5 billion of share repurchases but it hiked the dividend by 34%. Talk about a perfect storm of good news!
Although the U.S. has seen a resurgence in housing that such companies as Home Depot have benefited from, global industrial behemoths such as Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) can be influenced more heavily by international developments. Worries coming from China on Monday were sufficient to send Caterpillar 1.8% lower. The Chinese government instituted new rules intended to curb the wild growth of real estate values, a move that investors fear will hurt industrials, like Caterpillar, with exposure to the country.
In the tech sector, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) stock retains its distinction as one of the market's biggest movers. It's just not moving in the right way: Shares lost 2.4% Monday. The iPhone maker is in a way the victim of its own success, as shareholders worry the lack of a revolutionary, paradigm-shifting product on the horizon is equivalent to abject failure. Meanwhile, arguably Apple's largest rival, search giant Google, was setting all-time highs, adding almost 2% and ending above $820 per share.
Lastly, 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD ) , up more than 3% early in the day, ended up sliding 2.8%. While it would seem the impressive results from rival 3-D printing company Stratasys would boost 3D Systems' shares, that was certainly not the case. Expectations are so ridiculously high for this company that the market sold off the stock recently when it reported 54% sales growth and projected nearly 40% earnings growth. Investors in these high-growth, low-certainty businesses should know that they're signing up for a bumpy ride.
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 over 1,000% gains. 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 both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.