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AP News

Ahead of the Bell: Seagate Tech to join S&P 500

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Seagate Technology PLC rose in premarket trading on Tuesday as S&P Indices announced that the hard-drive maker will replace Progress Energy Inc. in the S&P 500 index after the market close on Friday.

Progress is being acquired by Duke Energy Corp.

Seagate Technology climbed 64 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $23.91 in trading before the market open. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $9.05 to $32.55.

Duke Energy has been trying for a year and a half to merge with Progress Energy and has one final hurdle to clear before the coupling — the blessing of the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Six commissioners met with representatives from the energy companies and the environmental group Monday to review information on the impact of the merger. The conclusion of the meeting has kicked off a countdown to a decision.

If successful, it would create the nation's largest electric utility. Duke and Progress have until July 8 to close their current deal. The $23.4 billion merger would span six states, employ nearly 30,000 workers and serve more than 7 million accounts. During the year and a half, the energy merger has been approved by various state and federal agencies. The most significant came on June 8, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave its blessing after twice rejecting the merger because of concerns it would reduce competition for wholesale electricity in the Carolinas.

The companies still hope to close the deal by July 1.

S&P Indices is part of the McGraw-Hill Cos.

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