Markets & Finance

Stocks End Slightly Higher


Major stock indices closed modestly higher Monday, as the market continued to consolidate losses following a down trend since early August, according to Standard & Poor's MarketScope. However, semiconductor and basic material stocks rebounded from losses last week, though Internet and computer groups were weak.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10.66 points, or 0.10%, to 10,569.89. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2.02 points, or 0.17%, to 1,221.73. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 5.85 points, or 0.27%, moving to 2,141.41.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, the economic calendar will again be light. Figures on July existing home sales will be released. Economists polled by Action Economics are expecting 7.3 million units sold, down slightly from June's 7.33 million units sold.

September NYMEX crude oil settled up 10 cents at $65.45 a barrel. According to Action Economics, prices were lifted early in the session after a power outage blocked Iraq exports, but reports that loading was continuing at the Basra terminal helped limit the gains later in the session.

There were no major economic announcements Monday.

Merger deals were the focus of Monday's news. Biotech group Eyetech Pharmaceuticals (EYET) said Monday it would sell itself to OSI Pharmaceuticals (OSIP) for about $935 million or $20 per share, a 43% premium to its price at Friday's close.

Government owned Chinese oil group CNPC said Monday that it has agreed to buy Petrokazakhstan (PKZ), a Canada-based oil group that operates in Kazakhstan, for $4.18 billion, or $55 per share, a 21.1% premium to Friday's closing price.

Private-equity firms Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. announced they had agreed to buy European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting (SBTV) for about $2.1 billion in cash.

The private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings will not increase its $1.1 billion bid for appliance maker Maytag (MYG) to compete with Whirlpool's (WHR) $1.7 billion takeover offer, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

In earnings news, food and ketchup maker H.J. Heinz (HNZ) reported a 19% drop in first-quarter profit to $157.3 million, thanks to in part to reorganization charges, but the results still beat Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of drugmaker Merck (MRK) continued to fall Monday after a Texas jury on Friday awarded $253 million in damages to the widow of a man who died after taking its painkiller Voixx. Merck said it would appeal the decision.

Treasury Market

Treasuries closed narrowly mixed Monday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note at 4.21%.

World Markets

European stock markets closed mixed Monday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 5.80 points, or 0.11%, to 5,318.40.

Germany's DAX index went up 11.78 points, or 0.24%, to 4,941.69.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index fell 1.96 points, or 0.04%, moving to 4,485.94.

Asian markets finished higher Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 160.78 points, or 1.31%, to reach a four-year high of 12,452.51, on optimism toward economic growth, according to Standard & Poor's MarketScope. Mizuho Financial surged 6.25% and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group rose 3.7%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 180.02 points, or 1.20%, to 15,218.63. Among the gainers, China Mobile rose 3.7% and oil group CNOOC gained 2.73%.


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