Daily Data Flow: Dell up, Apple down; Payroll Tax Increase; Gold and Platinum Rise

U.S. Stocks Change Little as Dell???s Rally Offsets Apple (Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks were little changed, after a two-week gain in the Standard & Poor???s 500 Index. Dell Inc. surged 13% as, according to insiders, the company is in discussions with private- equity firms. Apple, the most valuable company, sank 3.2% on reports it curbed iPhone production on weak demand. ???There???s nothing like a good rumor to get the market going in the absence of macro news,??? Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at the private-banking unit of KeyCorp in Cleveland. ???We???ve had a pretty decent 2012 in stocks and a good start to this year and people are watching the earnings season.???

The Payroll Tax Increase, The Economy and You (CNBC)
As of Jan. 1, the payroll tax that funds Social Security was raised two percentage points to its 2010 level of 6.2%. It is also by far the biggest component in tax increases approved by Congress to fend off even more tax hikes from the “fiscal cliff.” And that is expected to harm the economy. “In Q1, annualized it will shave about 1.4% off GDP,” estimated Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s He said the payroll tax increase is by far the biggest hit to the economy resulting from the deal.

Gold up 0.5%; Platinum Ends at Three-Month High (MarketWatch)
As the market looked to this week???s speeches by Federal Reserve officials for hints on their next move regarding U.S. monetary policy, gold futures settled higher Monday. Climbing platinum futures, meanwhile, moved near price parity with gold on supply concerns. ???There have been more hawkish noises coming from certain Federal Open Market Committee members of late, and any signs that suggest the recovery is on track or that inflation risks are heating up would lend weight to their calls for an earlier end to accommodative policies,??? said Ben Traynor, chief economist at BullionVault.