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US Indexes Mixed; Deal News Supports as Commodities Drift Lower

Stocks are mixed at mid-day as early upside from deal news gives way to continuing worries about the economic recovery, sending both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lower. With no U.S. economic reports due for release today, investors are focusing on Capitol Hill where negotiations are underway on the budget and debt ceiling.

In deal news:

--Ness Technologies ( NSTC ) is up by double digits after the company announced Friday night it entered into a definitive merger agreement under which an affiliate of Citi Venture Capital International will buy the company for about $307 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Ness stockholders will receive $7.75 per share in cash for each share of common stock they hold.

--Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc. ( WEN ) is advancing after signing a definitive agreement for the sale of Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. to a buyer formed by Roark Capital Group. Wendy's/Arby's Group will retain an 18.5% ownership interest in the Arby's business. Wendy's/Arby's Group had previously announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives for Arby's. The aggregate transaction value is estimated to be $430 million.

--Gerber Scientific ( GRB ) has surged after it said Vector Capital Corporation will pay $11 per share in cash, or approximately $281.8 million in total, for the company.

--Shares of Transatlantic Holdings ( TRH ) are higher after the company said it and Allied World Assurance Company Holdings ( AWH ) have agreed to a merger.

In other company news:

Shares of Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG) are down as the company said its operations were adversely impacted by breakup from a record winter snowfall, sustained heavy rainfall, and periods of flooding throughout Q2. Certain state highways and counties have imposed intermittent road restrictions on heavy trucks, causing limited trucking, which has resulted in some of the Company's wells being shut-in due to the inability to transport oil.

Shares of Merck & Co. (MRK) are down as the company announced that South Korea's Hanwha Chemical Corp. has agreed to sell marketing rights and technology for its drugs produced to Merck for $720 mln, allowing MRK access to a broader market, according to Dow Jones Newswires. By partnering with Hanwha, Merck could boost its profit by selling biosimilar drugs which attempt to copy the production process for drugs that are no longer protected by a patent.

Shares of eBay (EBAY) are down after the company said that it and GSI Commerce (GSIC) ered into a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with GSI shareholders settling claims filed in Delaware state court related to eBayÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢s previously announced acquisition of GSI. Under terms of the settlement, GSI shareholders will be paid a settlement amount equivalent to about $0.33 a share.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) is softer after Barron's says shares may be overvalued. The story says a slower-than-expected economic recovery may be holding back consumers who enjoy casual dining.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) slips after it says in a SEC filing the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the company's drug production and distribution.

US-traded shares of Royal Bank of Canada (RY) are down after Bloomberg reported that Canada's largest lender is beginning a nationwide marketing push for lower home-equity loan rates that other rivals. The move is an effort to gain customers even as consumer lending in that country slows

Commodities are lower. August gold contracts are down 0.14%, to $1,527 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are down 0.46% to $98.83 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.49% to $38.88 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.82%, to $11.86.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.48% at $148.51. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.81% to $52.97. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.41% to $34.40.

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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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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