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Stocks End Mixed; McDonald's, RIMM Gain

Stocks ended mixed Monday in tepid trading as investors took a breather after last week's rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 13.68, or 0.1 percent, to close at 10,552.52. The S&P 500 ended flat; the Nasdaq rose 0.2 percent.

Last week, Wall Street stocks turned in their best performance since early January, up 2.3 percent for the week. The Nasdaq closed at an 18-month high. The S&P is up for six straight sessions and if it makes it seven today, it would be the first time the index logged a seven-day winning streak since the fall of 2006.

Big anniversary coming up for the market this week: Tuesday marks one year since the March lows. Some traders said there could be some profit-taking.

Among the buzz in the market today, a survey by the National Association of Business Economists showed most business economists expect the Fed to hike rates within six mon thsby between a quarter and a half percentage point.

Cisco was also at the front of the Dow pack after JPMorgan started coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating and a $28 price target, citing the potential demand for networking equipment from growth in mobile data and server virtualization.

Cisco and Research In Motion led the advance on the Nasdaq as RIMM also benefited from an analyst upgrade. The stock jumped over 5 percent after BMO analyst Tim Long raised his rating to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised his price target to $88 from $70, citing expectations that the BlackBerry maker's earnings and outlook would be strong.

Insurers declined as President Obama criticized insurance providers for high premiums and denying coverage to the sick in a speech in Philadelphia. It was the first of several speeches the president will deliver to try to drum up support for health-care reform.

Humana, WellPoint and Aetna all ended lower.

AIG rose after the insurer agreed to sell its foreign life insurance unit to MetLife for around $15 billion in cash and stock. The deal would mean AIG will get a stake of over 20 percent in MetLife, the sources said.

Applied Materials climbed after the company raised its dividend and announced a $2 billion stock buyback.

Texas Instruments raised the low end of its earnings and revenue forecast for the current quarter but the stock fell. Analysts said the move was likely due to cost-cutting measures and that investors were bracing for a slowdown in chip demand.

Hewlett-Packard slipped after the company revised lower its first-quarter profit by 3 cents a share due to litigation related to its ESD IT-services business.

Intel, IBM, Oracle and Google were also lower.

Apple ended flat after earlier gains amid enthusiasm that iPad pre-orders begin this Friday.

Cablevision and WABCcame close enough to a deal Sunday night, 15 minutes into the Academy Awards presentation, to put the station back on the air. The station went dark at 12:01 am Sunday morning when the contract between the companies expired.

Volume was light but an increasing number of stocks are hitting 52-week highs. Advancers outpaced decliners, 3 to 2, on the Big Board.

Still to Come:

TUESDAY: NABE conference; Anniversary of market's March lows; Fed's Evans speaks; 3-year Treasury auction
WEDNESDAY: Obama health-care speech; weekly mortgage apps; wholesale trade; state unemployment rates; Google hearing; weekly crude inventories; 10-year auction; earnings from American-Eagle Outfitters
THURSDAY: $2B California bond sale; international trade; weekly jobless claims; 30-year auction; earnings from Nat Semi, Aeropostale
FRIDAY: Gov'ts retail-sales report; consumer sentiment; business inventories; earnings from Ann Taylor

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.

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CVC
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MET
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BB
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AAPL
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MCD
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