The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) finished the day up after mixed news from the tech and housing sectors. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced plans for returning cash to shareholders in the form of a buyback and dividend, while the National Association of Home Builders' housing-market index missed analyst expectations.



Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average +6.51 [0.05%] 13,239.13
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +5.58 [0.40%] 1,409.75

The big news this morning was Apple finally announcing plans for its nearly $100 billion cash hoard. In a conference call before the market open, CEO Tim Cook announced a quarterly dividend of $2.65 billion and a $10 billion, three-year buyback program. Fool Tech Analyst Eric Bleeker believes the dividend is too conservative and will be raised going forward.

However, Apple is not in the Dow -- if it were, the Dow would be far higher. The Dow opened down this morning as the National Association of Home Builders announced that builder confidence in the market for new homes remained unchanged from its revised downwards February numbers; analysts were expecting a continuation of the past five months trend of rising confidence.  Around noon, the Dow moved into positive territory, where it stayed for the rest of the afternoon.

Top Winner
On a largely positive day for financials, American Express (NYSE: AXP) led the way among Dow stocks, up 1.27% to $57.27. AmEx was one of the companies that passed the Fed's annual stress test of banks. After the results were published, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bancorp all announced dividend raises and stock buybacks. Investors expect American Express to do the same.

Top Loser
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) was today's worst Dow stock, down 2.76%, to $9.53. After breaking the $10 barrier in early trading, the stock began falling over rumors of a secondary offering which would dilute current owners' stakes. Bank of America has denied the rumor and shares are up after hours. Even with today's drop, Bank of America's stock has been on fire, rising almost 20% the past five days. Click here to see Fool Analyst Anand Chokkavelu explain why, today's results notwithstanding, Bank of America shares are soaring.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.