Wall St ticks up as Apple stock climbs higher

US stocks closed modestly higher yesterday, a day ahead of the key monthly jobs report, as a rebound in shares of Apple helped boost technology shares.

Traders were reluctant to bet heavily a day before the Friday release of the November employment report. Just 5.62bn shares changed hands on US exchanges.

Investors are also keeping watch on the “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington to see if lawmakers can reach a deal to avoid a series of spending cuts and tax hikes beginning in January. “Right now we’re just drifting, waiting to learn about the cliff and jobs,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York. “The only stabilising factor is that Apple is higher again, which is lending some support to the broader market.”

Apple climbed 1.6 per cent to $547.24, reversing losses incurred at the open. The stock was coming off its biggest one-day drop in four years on Wednesday, which occurred on concerns about higher capital gains taxes in 2013 and the company’s tablet computer market share.

The S&P technology index was the best performing of the S&P 500’s 10 major sectors, gaining 0.8 per cent. Semiconductor stocks rallied a day after Broadcom forecast fourth-quarter revenue at the high end of its target range. Broadcom’s stock rose 3.2 per cent to $33.36 while the PHLX semiconductor index rose 1.1 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.55 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 13,074.04 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 4.66 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 1,413.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 15.57 points, or 0.52 per cent, to close at 2,989.27.