Financial stocks were higher late with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising 0.2% and the S&P Financial 100 Index adding about 0.4%.
In company news, Protective Life Corp ( PL ) was up slightly more than 18% late in Wednesday session and the insurance carrier accepting a $5.7 billion buyout offer from Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co.
The deal calls for PL shareholders to receive $70.00 per share in cash, a 34% premium over its May 30 closing price when reports of a prospective transaction first appeared.
According to the companies, the merger will create the 13th largest global insurer, with total assets of $424 billion. Dai-ichi is expecting PL to be its platform for U.S. growth, with no plans for any significant changes in its current corporate strategy or management.
PL shares were ahead just over 18% at $69.30 apiece, earlier climbing to within a penny of its 52-week high of $69.41 a share.
In other sector news,
(+) LSBI, Agrees to be acquired by Old National Bancorp ( ONB ) with shareholders receiving 2.269 ONB shares and $10.63 in cash - or $41.67 overall - for each share they now own. ONB expects the deal to increase FY15 earnings by $7.5 mln, or about $0.03 per share.
(-) ICE, Reports average daily volume of 5.4 mln contracts during May, a 15% decline from year-ago levels. Commodities futures and options volume was down 23% while volume for financial futures and options fell 9% from May 2013 levels.
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