Nasdaq takes a bite of the prized Apple

BIG profits from Apple and a promise from the Federal Reserve to keep rock-bottom rates for at least two more years powered the US stock market higher yesterrday.

Apple led the Nasdaq to a one per cent gain. Shares of the maker of iPhones and iPads surged to a record, making it the most valuable US company in terms of market capitalisation. Apple finished up 6.2 per cent at $446.66.

Buying picked up after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates near zero through at least 2014, which was longer than many investors anticipated.

Apple shares hit an all-time high of $454.45 on results issued after Tuesday’s market close that sailed past expectations. The move higher pushed Apple’s market capitalisation above that of Exxon Mobil, making it the largest publicly held US company.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.10 points, or 0.66 per cent, at 12,758.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 11.41 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 1,326.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 31.67 points, or 1.14 per cent, at 2,818.31.

Both United Technologies and Rockwell Automation slightly missed revenue forecasts. United Tech closed down 0.2 per cent at $77.65 and Rock-well dropped 2.9 per cent to $79.42.