By Rex Crum, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks began the week with a strong performance Monday, as Apple Inc. helped push the tech sector north after the company confirmed that Chinese mobile-phone network operator China Mobile Ltd. will begin carrying the iPhone in January.
Apple (AAPL) climbed by almost 4%, to $570.23 after the company said China Mobile (CHL) would get the iPhone 5s and 5c on Jan. 14, and the carrier's customers can pre-register for the smartphone starting on Dec. 25.
Speculation that Apple would reach a deal with China Mobile had been growing in recent weeks, and a tie-up between the two companies was seen as one of the main tech topics to look for in 2014. China Mobile is the world's largest mobile-phone carrier in terms of customers, with an estimated 700 million subscribers to its network.
Apple also attention after Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an email to company employees that highlighted the company's work this year and hinted at what Apple has in store for 2014.
Among other leading tech stocks, Facebook Inc. (FB) shares rose almost 5%, to $57.78 as the social-networking company made its debut Monday on the S&P 500 Index.
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) shares climbed 7.6% to close at $64.54. The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) named Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey to its board of directors.
Pandora Media Inc. (P) rose 5.6%, to close at $29.58 a share. Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin named Pandora her top stock pick for 2014 among online companies. In a research note, Martin said she picked Pandora because of factors such as 50% year-over-year revenue growth for each of the past eight quarters.
Gains also came from Netflix Inc. (NFLX), up 1.3% to close at $380.58; EMC Corp. (EMC), which rose 2.2% to $25.07, and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO), which rose 1.6% to close at $40.77 a share.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) flexed its muscles and rose 44 point, or 1%, to close at 4,148, while the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) also ended the day in positive territory.
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