Green for St. Patrick, Stocks and Apple

Wall Street is celebrating St. Patrick's Day early. The luck of the Irish has pushed the S&P 500 above the 1400 level for the first time since June of 2008, three months before the financial crisis hit.

The Dow Jones Industrials has ended the day in the plus column for the past seven sessions in a row, the longest streak since last February. U.S. futures are indicating a modestly higher open again Friday morning.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares reached their own new milestone: $600. The surge comes as the new iPad hits store shelves today at a base price of $499, cheaper than one share of stock.

The new tablet hits store shelves today in ten countries: the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK, along with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Apple fans have lined up in the wee hours of the morning to be among the first to get their hands on the third version of Apple's famous device, which comes equipped with a faster processor and a much sharper screen.  It also boasts an improved camera, similar to that of the latest iPhone.

Select retailers such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), RadioShack (NYSE:RSH), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will be selling the device as well.

Among the companies that are involved in the production of the new iPad are chip makers Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN), Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS), Toshiba, TriQuint, and Skyworks Solutions.