Sept. 10 - Summary: Stock gains extend to sixth day but Apple debut leaves investors wanting more; Nike hits all-time high as it heads into Dow; August McDonald's sales easily beat forecasts; Bank of America cutting jobs. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street is in the midst of its longest winning streak in two-months as the drumbeat of war gets quieter. Blue chips are up five of the last six sessions, while the S&P 500 joins the Nasdaq in a six day upsweep. Investors were optimistic that a Western strike against Syria could be averted ahead of a Tuesday evening speech from U.S. President Barack Obama. And there were other reasons for the market to rally. In the biggest shake-up of the closely-watched Dow Jones Industrial Average in nearly a decade: Alcoa, Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard are out. They will be replaced on September 23 by Goldman Sachs, Nike, and Visa. The incoming Dow components each moved higher with Nike touching an all-time high. After much speculation - the truth is finally out - and it's not much different from the rumors. Apple is downgrading the iPhone 5, with a plastic phone in array of colors; the subsidized price for the iPhone 5C is as low as 99 bucks. There's also the 5S, a higher-end smartphone with metallic finishes, a faster processor, and a few other upgrades including a new operating system. The smartphones will be available globally at the end of next week. But shares of the gadget maker fell with investors saying the upgrades lack the "wow" factor they were looking for. In a quick round up of the other corporate headlines: Chatter about who should run Microsoft continues to grow. Investors tell us turn-around experts like Ford's Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences' Mike Lawrie should be added to the list of those being considered to take over for retiring CEO Steve Ballmer. Bank of America is laying off 2,100 workers in its mortgage lending business, according to a source, because of a plunge in refinancings. And sales at McDonald's locations opened more than a year were much stronger than expected last month thanks to a rebound in Europe. Staying in Europe - automakers say a five-year sales slump appears to be giving way to a slow recovery. Optimism from the Frankfurt auto show helped propel European markets to 3-1/2 month highs.