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Closing Bell | Stocks drift higher but can't match last week

U.S. stocks drifted higher Monday but lost the momentum from their biggest week of the year.

A dividend from Apple, a deal for UPS and the promise of greater demand for U.S. Steel drove those stocks to gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up as much as 37 points but sank most of the afternoon and finished up 6.51 at 13,239.13. It was a ho-hum performance compared with the Dow's 310-point gain last week.

The Standard Poor's 500 rose 5.58 points to 1,409.75, its highest close since May 20, 2008. The Nasdaq composite index rose 23.06 points to 3,078.32. The BATS 1000 rose 48.02 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 15,906.86.

An index of homebuilder confidence came in unchanged. Without major economic news or headlines out of Europe, the markets were steered by announcements from a handful of well-known companies.

Apple rose 2.7 percent to $601.10, its first close above $600, after announcing that it would pay a shareholder dividend and buy back $10 billion of its stock over three years.

The dividend is expected to expand the company's shareholder reach because value-oriented mutual funds that focus on dividends will buy it. Apple's stock has already skyrocketed from $405 this year, partly in anticipation of the dividend.

UPS rose 3.4 percent after announcing it would buy TNT Express, the second-largest express mail company in Europe behind DHL. The purchase further solidifies UPS' status as the world's largest delivery company.

U.S. Steel climbed 6.4 percent, the best performer in the S 500, after some manufacturers announced price hikes last week, fueling expectations of improving demand. Steel Dynamics and AK Steel Holding Corp. also rose.

Bank of America rose above $10 in midday trading for the first time since August, though it's still well off its pre-crisis high of more than $50. The stock ended the day down 2.8 percent, at $9.53.

The markets couldn't match the electricity of last week. The Dow and the S 500 both rose 2.4 percent last week, their best showings of the year so far. For the first time, the Dow closed above 13,000 and the Nasdaq above 3,000 on the same day.

On Monday, while ever-present concerns about European debt, a slowdown in China and the pace of U.S. economic growth were bubbling below the surface, investors seemed to take a day off from worrying about them.

"The absence of any negative news over the weekend was pretty positive," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va., who described the market as complacent. "It sounds backward, but that's quite often the case."

There was little in the way of major economic indicators. The National Association of Home Builders' index of builder confidence came in unchanged from the previous month but is at its highest since June 2007, a year before the financial meltdown.

Though Greece's debt crisis has faded from the spotlight for the moment, Greece remains in deep recession, and uncertainty lingers. Unions throughout Europe are protesting cuts in benefits, making it difficult for governments to rein in their spending.

Leadership questions are also surfacing, with the Greek finance minister stepping down to run the majority Socialist party and France gearing up for presidential elections.

Here’s a scorecard on Kansas City area stocks:

Capitol Federal Financial rose 1 cents, or 0.08 percent, to close at $12.00.

Cerner Corp. fell 7 cents, or 0.09 percent, to close at $76.86.

Collective Brands Inc. rose 17 cents, or 0.95 percent, to close at $18.15.

Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 17 cents, or 0.42 percent, to close at $40.85.

Compass Minerals rose 22 cents, or 0.31 percent, to close at $71.78.

DST Systems Inc. rose 1 cents, or 0.02 percent, to close at $54.98.

Ferrellgas Partners L.P. fell 5 cents, or 0.33 percent, to close at $15.20.

Garmin Ltd. rose 49 cents, or 1.05 percent, to close at $47.38.

Great Plains Energy rose 1 cents, or 0.05 percent, to close at $20.08.

H Block Inc. was unchanged at $16.91.

Inergy L.P. rose 10 cents, or 0.63 percent, to close at $16.07.

Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 99 cents, or 2.99 percent, to close at $34.13.

Kansas City Southern fell 98 cents, or 1.31 percent, to close at $73.69.

Layne Christensen Co. rose 4 cents, or 0.17 percent, to close at $23.36.

O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 47 cents, or 0.53 percent, to close at $89.51.

Sprint Nextel Corp. fell 13 cents, or 4.50 percent, to close at $2.76.

UMB Financial Corp. fell 7 cents, or 0.15 percent, to close at $45.76.

Waddell Reed Financial Corp. rose 1 cents, or 0.03 percent, to close at $32.63.

YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 92 cents, or 10.74 percent, to close at $9.49.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.
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