Today: Apple and Google shoot higher amid valley heavyweights' European court battle, Adobe goes all-in on cloud and Electronic Arts strikes a deal for "Star Wars" games.
The lead: Google and Apple rise as their battle continues
Google hit an all-time record high Monday on Wall Street, but Apple had an even better day as a European body said that Google's Motorola Mobility unit is using anticompetitive tactics against the iPad maker.
Google hit an all-time intraday high of $861.85 before closing at a record high of $861.55, a daily gain of 1.9 percent. The move came despite the European ruling in Apple's favor, which could lead to antitrust charges against Motorola Mobility if it is upheld. The European battle between Apple a Google's subsidiary is part of a larger war between the two companies that has focused on lawsuits between Apple and hardware makers that use Google's Android operating system, with the stakes again showing Monday in a comScore report that shows Apple continues to be the top smartphone manufacturer, but Android is the top OS.
Investors may have pushed Google higher due to expectations of a new avenue for revenue: The New York Times reported Monday that the Mountain View search giant will announce this week that YouTube will begin offering premium content channels, with monthly subscriptions of $1.99 and up.
Apple moved 2.4 percent to close at $460.71, far from the records it set last year but still the Cupertino company's highest closing price since late March. The stock boost was likely influenced by a Barclays investor note that increased the price target for Apple stock from $465 to $525, with analyst Ben Reitzes writing, "We believe Apple is about to change the narrative and get investors, analysts, customers and the media finally talking about new products again."
The analyst's note shows just how much views on Apple have changed since it announced a decline in profits but promised big shareholder returns last month -- the same analyst cut his price target from $530 to $465 in the run-up to that quarterly earnings report just a couple weeks ago.
"Upon further reflection, we didn't fully appreciate at first how much of a relief it was for Apple to unveil" a plan for larger return of cash to its investors, Reitzes wrote.
Since Apple announced its plan to push more cash back to investors, which was followed by a debt offering that was in high demand, the stock has risen 13.4 percent. Investors seemed to push past news that could have had a negative effect on the company's share price just a few weeks ago, such as a Bloomberg News report Monday that claimed Apple was missing out on billions of potential customers by failing to come to agreement with more wireless carriers, especially in Asia.
The positive moves by Apple and Google continued their successes in market capitalization, the total worth of all shares in a company. Apple, the most valuable company in the world by that metric, continued to pull away from second-place Exxon Mobile, while Google moved ahead of Microsoft to be the second-most-valuable tech company in the world, a feat it originally accomplished in October.
SV150 market report: Adobe's future is in cloud, EA's is in 'Star Wars'
After busting through milestone levels at the end of last week the Standard & Poor's 500 gained slightly to a new record closing high while the Dow Jones dipped very slightly. Tech stocks, however, experienced a stronger advance with the backing of Apple and Google, as the Nasdaq gained 0.4 percent and the SV150 index moved 0.8 percent higher.
Adobe announced that its successful foray into the cloud will be a permanent and complete one, as the San Jose software company will cease selling copies of its Creative Suite package of software and focus solely on cloud-based subscriptions. Adobe's stock dropped 1.1 percent on the day to $46.49, but analysts seemed to support the idea: IDC analyst Al Hilwa said "Adobe is ahead of the game." Investors could be wary of the near-term effects of the move, however, with an Adobe executive admitting that it's a "big transition" for customers.
Electronic Arts, still searching for a permanent CEO, made a big announcement while working under an interim: The Redwood City company struck a deal with Disney to make "Star Wars"-themed video games. Disney plans to make new "Star Wars" movies after acquiring San Francisco-based LucasFilms, but the Southern California company closed down the studio's video game publishing arm, opening the door for EA. EA, which has experience with "Star Wars" games, gained 1.9 percent to $18.29 in regular trading, then announced the move after the bell.
Intel dropped 0.2 percent to $23.91 after showing off the newest generation of its mobile chips, which the Santa Clara company said would be three times faster than its previous offering. Facebook dropped 2.6 percent to $27.57 after a Financial Times report said the Menlo Park company would begin placing autoplay video ads in users' feeds this summer. After hours, Sunnyvale's Ruckus Wireless took a large tumble after its earnings came in below estimates.
Tesla took one of the sharpest positive turns on the day, gaining 9.1 percent and again hitting new intraday and closing highs after hiring a new executive famous for his work with Aston Martin. LinkedIn gained 0.8 percent on its 10th birthday, which cofounder Reid Hoffman celebrated with a blog post, and VMware bounced back from recent weakness with a 3 percent gain.
Up: Tesla, SunPower, Ruckus, VMware, Workday, Juniper, Apple, Google, EA, NetApp, Splunk, Intuit, LinkedIn, Symantec, Yahoo, Oracle
Down: Facebook, SolarCity, Yelp, Gilead, Netflix, Adobe, Palo Alto Networks, Zynga, Nvidia, Intel, Applied Materials, Cisco
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 10.53, or 0.84 percent, to 1,257.28
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 14.34, or 0.42 percent, to 3,392.97
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 5.07, or 0.03 percent, to 14,968.89
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 3.08, or 0.19 percent, to 1,617.5
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.