Dow Crushes Another Record As Facebook and Apple Soar

Still hoping Santa got you that 5-pound sampling of the best bacon from around the world (we've all been there)? Wall Street was distracted, too, on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  rose 73 points to kick off the super-slow week -- the New York Stock Exchange will close early Tuesday and is shut down for Christmas day. So give the gift of MarketSnacks, and don't pull a hamstring on those snow angels.

1. Apple jumps on big China deal
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) will be having Chinese for dinner this Christmas holiday. The iPhone maker announced Sunday that China Mobile, the biggest wireless phone network in the world with more than 700 million users, will begin offering the iPhone to customers. Boom! That's a lot of potential new customers for iPhones overnight. It's a Christmas miracle that helped boost the stock almost 4% Monday.

How is this happening just now? Chinese people on average are still very poor, and there are many of Google's  (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android devices available out in the big red country for $100 or less, while iPhones retail for over $700 each in China. Basically, the majority of Chinese can't afford the iPhone, but as their middle class continues to grow, China Mobile decided it's time to bring the top phone to their top market.

The bottom line is that there are high expectations for this new partnership. Will it bring millions of new iPhone sales? Probably. But it will all depend on the ability of the Chinese to pony up for the high ticket price of Steve Jobs' wonder products. The "cheaper" iPhone 5c with the exclusive pastel colors are a whopping $549 each in America (and more expensive in China). That's expensive, even if it comes with a free spring roll and a can of soda.

2. Facebook hits fresh high after joining S&P 500
Mark Zuckerberg was just the new kid all over again. Monday was Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB  ) first day in the S&P 500 -- the cool-sounding elite club is the stock index that tracks the performance of 500 large companies on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. Maybe it's time to finally trade in the hoodie for something Mama Zuckerberg would be proud of, Marky Mark.

So why did the stock pop? Shares of Facebook jumped nearly 5% on the big day to a new high of $57.77. Since the S&P 500 is considered a barometer for how the broad stock market is doing, many investors and mutual funds just lazily invest by buying shares of its member companies. That means a lot of new FB buyers from these passive investors.

The takeaway is that Facebook has had a bigger year than that girl on your newsfeed who can't stop posting her wedding pics. Zuckerberg and some other execs announced last week that they're selling 43 million of their own FB shares to cash in on their valuable stock's rise. Investors didn't love that news, but they do like how FB is now testing video ads, which has helped pump the stock up 117% this year. That's worth tweeting about.
 
3. November "consumer spending" crushes
According to the Commerce Department, consumer spending on everything from microwaves to microbrews rose 0.5% in November -- that's the fastest monthly gain since June. The biggest jump in spending was on cars, with sales rising nearly 2% thanks to the fall's lower gas prices (it definitely wasn't thanks to this year's brutal holiday Lexus commercials).

The takeaway is that even though Black Friday weekend sales may not have lived up to all the Miley Cyrus level of hype, Americans still did plenty a-spendin'. Big-box retailers' absurdly early holiday sales (three weeks before Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart? Seriously?) drew shoppers into stores like a Christmas gift pregame party. Plus, the improving jobs numbers and housing market meant more money was in their pockets to cash in on fun toys.

Tuesday: 
  • Durable goods orders
  • New home sales
  • New York Stock Exchange closes early at 1 p.m. ET

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