Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Slightly Higher


Stocks finished mixed in slow trading Monday. There is continued uncertainty about the strength of the economy following Friday's report showing May job growth was much weaker than expected, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope. Some corporate merger news did not have much impact on the market, while oil futures moved lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.06 points, or 0.06%, to 10,467.03. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 1.49 points, or 0.12%, to 1,197.51. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 4.33 points, or 0.21%, to 2,075.76.

No major economic reports were released Monday.

In the energy markets, profit-taking pushed July crude oil futures down 54 cents Monday, to settle at $54.49 a barrel.

In corporate news, financial-services company Washington Mutual (WM) said Monday that it agreed to buy Providian Financial (PVN) for about $5.45 billion in cash and stock. The price represents a 4.2% premium on Providian's closing price Friday of $17.96.

In further M&A news, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that E*Trade Financial (ET) has sweetened its bid for competing online financial services firm Ameritrade (AMTD). E*Trade offered Ameritrade a 49.5% stake in a new combined company, along with $2 billion in cash.

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) has made a deal with the Justice Department to settle a criminal investigation into alleged accounting improprieties for about $300 million, the Journal reported Monday, citing unnamed sources. In addition, board member James D. Robinson is expected to become chairman.

Apple Computer (AAPL) announced plans to start using Intel (INTC) chips in its Macintosh computers. The move would be a defeat for current Macintosh suppliers, IBM (IBM) and Freescale Semiconductor (FSC).

Real-estate trust ProLogis (PLD) has agreed to buy Catellus Development (CDX) in a $3.6 billion cash and stock deal that will create the largest REIT specializing in warehouse and distribution properties. The deal represents a 16% premium on Catellus' closing price Friday. As part of the agreement, ProLogis will also take on $1.3 billion in debt.

Standard & Poor's says it believes the sale of Agilent Technologies' (A) semiconductor unit would be logical, and reiterated its hold rating on the stock. Press reports had raised the possibility of such a sale.

Treasury Market

Treasuries finished higher Monday on late short covering

before Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's speech to the International Monetary Fund tonight. His comments could move markets Tuesday, says Standard & Poor's MarketScop. Also, some traders were encouraged that Treasuries were able to recover from Friday's reversal following an early rise on a weaker than expected jobs report. The 10-year Treasury yield ended at 3.956%.

World Markets

European stock markets finished lower Monday. London's FTSE 100 index dropped 19.00 points, or 0.38%, to 4,980.40, as July Brent crude oil futures rose a bit, giving boosts to BP and Shell Transport. Mining groups BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were also higher as copper prices rose for the fourth day in a row.

Germany's DAX index fell 13.13 points, or 0.29%, to 4,497.26, as German April factory orders fell 2.9%. the European retail purchasing managers index rose to 50.1 from 48.7, however. MTU Aero Engines was higher on the news that the company and Kohnberg Kravis Roberts raised ??748.7 million in an initial public offering, which Singulus Technologies was off after Deutsche Bank cut its recommendation on the shares to sell from hold.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index, fell 16.00 points, or 0.38%, to 4,146.47. EADS was lower on a report that Emirates Airways is seeking damages from a dely in delivery of Airbus planes, while France Telecom was lower after the government said it would sell 6% to 8% of the phone company as soon as today.

Asian markets closed mixed Monday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 29.43 points, or 0.26%, to 11,270.62.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 42.10 points, or 0.30%, to 13,860.55.


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