Closing Update: Stocks End Near 5-Year Highs, Carried By Deal-Making, Euro-Zone Optimism

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U.S. stocks ended higher Tuesday, with equities in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbing to their best levels in five years, fueled by another round of dealmaking and data showing rising investor confidence in Germany.

The S&P 500 climbed over 10 points to close over 1530 while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 16 points to to 3208. The Dow Jones Industrials Index also rose, with gains across all industry sectors except mining stocks. Energy issues had the best gains, rising over 1% as a group. Banks and consumer shares also were strong.

Shares of OfficeMax Inc. ( OMX ) and OfficeDepot rose sharply today following reports the office-supplies chains are in advanced talks for a stock-for-stock merger. Precise terms of the deal are not yet known, including the share of the combined companies shareholders from each firm would own. Shares of rival Staples ( SPLS ) also advanced today.

More than $158 billion in deals has been announced so far in 2013, more than double the activity in the same period last year and accounting for 57 percent of global deal volumes, according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence.

Stocks also were supported by new data showing German investor confidence rising to a three-year high, in possibly a sign the euro-zone economy may soon emerge from its long slump. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations climbed to a 48.2 reading this month from a 31.5 score in January and topping analyst projections for a 35 reading this month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Homebuilder stocks struggled session-long after the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder confidence index fell by a full point to 46 from last month's score. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 50 economists called for a rise to 48.

Commodities were mixed. Crude oil for March delivery settled 80 cents higher at $96.66 per barrel. March natural gas added 11.9 cents to $3.272 per 1 million BTU. Apr gold fell $5.10 to $1604 per ounce while March silver was off $0.44 to $29.42 per ounce. Mar copper fell 8 cents to $3.65 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average Up 0.39% to 14,035.67

S&P 500 Up 0.73% to 1,530.94

Nasdaq Composite Index Up 0.68% to 3,213.59

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 1.02%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.60%

FTSE 100 Index up 1.05%

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+) NVGN, Said its experimental anti-ovarian cancer drug CS-6 was highly active against ovarian cancer stem cells in clinical testing.

(+) RRGB, Q4 net income more than doubles from year-ago levels, topping Wall Street expectations.

(+) PVFC, Agrees to be acquired by F.N.B. Corp ( FNB ) in an all-stock transaction valued at $106.4 mln.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) PPHM, Updated Phase II data indicates patients with second-line, non-small cell lung cancer who were treated with the company's bavituximab drug candidate survived a median 11.7 months, or about 4.4 months longer than patients in the control arm of the study.

(-) DGIT, Said a strategic review of options failed to produce a potential buyer. Also reports a $0.75 per share net loss in Q4, reversing a $0.16 profit in the year-ago quarter and missing analyst expectations.

(-) DAKT, Reports 9.6% year-over-year decline in fiscal Q3 net sales to $111.1 mln, trailing analyst forecasts by about $12.73 mln. Net income of $0.06 per share also lagged the Street view by a penny. Guides Q4 sales below consensus.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: FNB , OMX , SPLS

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