Closing Update: Stocks Heat Up as Russia, Ukraine Tensions Cool; Deal-Making Also Fuels Monday Gains

Stocks closed sharply higher Monday, carried by easing geo-political pressures between Russian and Ukraine. Equilities also found support from bullish housing data and the start of a potential bidding war for Family Dollar ( FDO ) by Dollar General ( DG ), which upstaged an earlier $9.2 billion offer for discount retailer by Dollar Tree ( DLTR ). Nine of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 finished higher, led by shares of financial companies, while utility stocks were the loan decliners as investors sought out riskier assets.

In economic news, the National Association of Home Builders said its housing market index rose to a 55.0 reading in August, beating expectations to remain unchanged from last months's 53.0 score.

September crude oil fell 88 cents to $97.31 per barrel while September natural gas added 2 cents to settle at $3.79 per 1 million BTU. December gold declined $7.40 to $1,299.20 per ounce while September silver rose 12 cents to $19.64 per ounce. September copper climbed a penny to $3.11 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. market stand at mid-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 175.83 (+1.06%) to 16,838.74

S&P 500 up 16.67 ( +0.85%) to 1,971.73

Nasdaq Composite Index up 43.39 (+0.97%) to 4,508.31


Hang Seng Index unchanged

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.57%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.78%


(+) JRJC, Launches Securities Master, China's first web-based trading platform, through a strategic partnership with CITIC Securities, the country's largest brokerage firm.

(+) MOBI, Reports Q2 earnings of RMB0.28 per share, or $0.04 per ADS, on 35.9% year-over-year revenue growth to around $27.4 mln. For the current quarter, the company expects revenue in a range of $32.6 mln (RMB200 mln) to $34.2 mln (RMB210 mln).

(+) TKMR, Leerink Swan begins coverage of the drug-maker working on a possible vaccine to treat the ebola virus with an Outperform rating amd a $25 price target.


(-) FN, Postpones release of Q4, FY14 financial results while its board audit committee investigates whether they are potential violations of the company's accounting policies.

(-) MITK, Federal court sides with USAA, agreeing to dismiss MITK's infringement claims on four patents while allowing legal fight over contract to proceed next month. Chief Technology Officer Michael Strange leaves the company to pursue other opportunities.

(-) NXPI, Cut to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

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

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