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Stock Market News: iPhone 11 Hits Stores; McDonald's Dishes Out Dividends

By Dan Caplinger – Sep 20, 2019 at 11:50AM

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The stock market was little changed Friday morning.

Wall Street had a quiet opening on Friday morning, with investors continuing to parse through the macroeconomic implications of the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut earlier this week. Global economic concerns remain an issue for markets, especially as matters like the ongoing Brexit debate and the recent Israeli elections bring potential chokepoints into focus. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.40%) was up 45 points to 27,140. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.05%) gained 3 points to 3,010, but the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.26%) was lower by 13 points to 8,170.

Many investors focused on Apple's (AAPL -0.94%) release of its latest slate of iPhone models given how important the mobile device pioneer has found its smartphone line over the years. Income investors might find McDonald's (MCD -0.75%) to be a tastier topic today, though, because the fast-food king decided to be a bit more generous in sharing its corporate cash.

Happy iPhone Day!

Shares of Apple climbed about 1% as the tech giant's latest slate of iPhones became available in stores. Apple had started taking preorders last week, but today was the date on which the smartphones started shipping.

Apple Store location as seen from outside, with a palm tree nearby.

Image source: Apple.

There's been a lot of speculation about whether the iPhone 11 line will get a good reception from consumers. Incremental boosts to features will appeal to some users, but others will inevitably conclude that they can wait another product cycle before upgrading to the next version when it comes out. Preorder sales trends seem to suggest a successful launch, as proponents of the new model point to a more capable processor and appealing price points.

Yet many Apple shareholders still think that the company will eventually have to make a transition away from its considerable reliance on hardware sales, and that's why those following the stock are paying more attention to the services that the tech giant has developed. Platforms like Apple TV+ video streaming and Arcade video games could pave the way for future growth.

Even if the company moves in that direction, it'll take a long time for Apple to wean itself from the huge revenue that its popular devices produce. That'll make this and future releases of key products important for the foreseeable future.

More gold for Golden Arches shareholders

McDonald's saw its stock rise slightly in the wake of an announcement about its dividend. The company said that it would raise its quarterly dividend by 8%, paying shareholders $1.25 per share in cash every quarter starting in December.

CEO Steve Easterbrook explained the move. "Our broad based business strength across the globe in a testament to the Velocity Growth Plan," Easterbrook said, and "today's dividend increase reflects our confidence in the plan and our continued focus on driving long-term value for shareholders."

McDonald's has put together an impressive track record of dividend growth for its longtime investors. Today's move marked the 43rd straight year that the fast-food company has added to its dividend payout. That puts McDonald's among the rarified ranks of the Dividend Aristocrats, which share a similar commitment to consistent payout increases.

The new dividend sends McDonald's yield up to around 2.4%, which is comfortably above the overall market average. Given how low interest rates on fixed-income investments have gotten, McDonald's yield makes the stock exciting even to conservative investors who need relatively reliable sources of investment income, as well as the potential for a rising share price over time.

Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple and long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$141.14 (-0.94%) $-1.34
McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
McDonald's Corporation
MCD
$232.64 (-0.75%) $-1.76
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$29,109.15 (-0.40%) $-116.46
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,638.65 (-0.05%) $-1.82
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$10,765.50 (0.26%) $27.99

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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