Wall Street erased pre-market losses and rose to new record highs Monday as merger and acquisition activity lifted equities to the plus side for the fourth consecutive day. Gains were limited on light volume, however, with few other catalysts as well as lingering valuation concerns keeping broader advances in check.
A $7 billion offer by Tyson Foods ( TSN ) for Hillshire Brands ( HSH ) as the headline deal of the day with TSN increasing its bid to $63 per share to top a rival $55 a share offer by Pilgrim's Pride ( PPC ).
Also today, Analog Devices ( ADI ) is buying Hittite Microwave ( HITT ) for $78 per share while Merck (MRK) is getting into the lucrative hepatitis C market with a $3.85 billion purchase of Idenix Pharmaceutical (IDIX).
European markets continue to gain mileage from last week's rate cut by the European Central Bank. Both stocks and bond prices are higher, although the euro continues to depreciate against the U.S. dollar, largely as a result of the yield spread between the two.
Crude oil was up $1.48 to $104.14 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.04 to $4.67 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.40 to $1,252.90 an ounce, while silver was up $0.08 to $19.08 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.05 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.17% to $38.05 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.26% to $25.81. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.02% to 22.63 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.01% to $120.62. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.25% to $18.33.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 28.23 (+0.26%) to 10,932.45
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 29.32 (+0.17%) to 16,953.60
S&P 500 up 4.10 (+0.21%) to 1,953.54
Nasdaq Composite Index up 22.90 (+0.53%) to 4,344.30
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.31%
Hang Seng Index up 0.73%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.03%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.24%
CAC 40 up 0.17%
DAX up 0.21%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.40%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.29%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.16%
(+) HITT (+28.76%) Analog Devices ( ADI ) offers $78 per share for the company
(+) IDIX (+232.92%)To be acquired by Merck (MRK) for $24.50 per share
(+) FDO (+13.56%) Carl Icahn revealed a 9.4% active stake in the company
(-) NVCN (-4.98%) Legal battle with CardiAQ Valve Technologies over mitral-valve repair technology
(-) NSR (-7.39%) Email mistakenly posted in FCC docket indicates next LNPA contract will go to Ericsson (ERIC)
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