Dow Gets a Lift From M&A Talk: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG)

A flurry of completed and rumored big-time equity deals alike have dominated financial headlines for weeks now, and today saw more of the same. The result was continued gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average‘s , which closed above the 14,000 level, ending 53 points, or 0.39%, higher, to close at 14,035.

Closing at a 52-week high, Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was the Dow’s top gainer today, adding 2.2%. With other high-profile tech companies like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) also hitting highs, nearly all areas of the market traded bullishly, as investors saw a potential merger between OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE:OMX) and Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) as a positive sign for the direction of corporate America. (Unlike any of the aforementioned companies, though, Cisco pays a handsome dividend higher than 2.5%.)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) was on the opposite side of things today, losing 2.8% as metal prices declined. It’s not unusual for shares in the aluminum producer to post exaggerated swings; its 1.87 beta indicates that the stock is 87% more volatile than the wider market. Apart from the general slide in metals prices today, the decline may have been amplified by the four-day winning streak last week, prompting some investors to take profits Tuesday.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) , the nutritional-supplement company whose shares are at the heart of a recent public game of chicken between rival financiers Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman, reported quarterly results today. Before announcing, the stock bounced 2.6% during normal trading hours. The better-than-expected results in the quarter, combined with raised guidance for both 2013 income and revenue, have Icahn’s bullish 13% stake in the company looking like a good idea, for the moment.

Finally, some odd news from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) today: Reports surfaced that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the victim of a complex hacking scheme that compromised several employees’ computers. What’s bizarre is that the hackers are reportedly the same culprits behind Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)‘s recent security breach. Even more peculiar is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stock was barely affected today, perhaps implying that shares are close to a floor for the time being.

The article Dow Gets a Lift From M&A Talk originally appeared on and is written by John Divine.

Fool contributor John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Cisco Systems, Facebook, and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Google and has options on Herbalife.

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