Consumer Goods Firms Lead U.S. Stocks Slightly Higher

(AP) -
stocks, markets, wall street
(Reuters//Andrew Kelly)

U.S. stock indexes were veering slightly higher in midday trading Monday as investors sized up a batch of corporate deal news. Mattel soared on a report that Hasbro offered to buy the rival toymaker. Consumer and household goods companies posted some of the biggest gains, offsetting losses by industrial and energy stocks.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, at 2,584 as of 12:28 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,441. The Nasdaq composite increased 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,756.

LET’S PLAY TOGETHER: Toymaker Mattel soared 21.8 percent following a report that rival Hasbro made an offer to buy the company. Mattel was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, climbing $3.19 to $17.81. Hasbro rose $6.61, or 7.2 percent, to $98.06.

SHOPPING FOR MALLS: GGP jumped 7.1 percent after Brookfield Property Partners offered to buy the rest of shopping mall owner for $14 billion, or $23 a share. Shares in GGP rose $1.57 to $23.77.

NO, THANKS: Qualcomm rose 1.7 percent after the company rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from Broadcom worth $103 billion, or $70 a share, saying the proposal is significantly undervalued and that a tie-up between the massive chipmakers would face substantial regulatory resistance. Shares in Qualcomm gained $1.10 to $65.67. Broadcom fell 17 cents to $264.79.

CONSUMER FRIENDLY: Consumer and household goods companies were among the big gainers. J. M. Smucker rose $2.19, or 2.1 percent, to $106.31.

GE DIVIDEND: General Electric slumped 7 percent after it said that it will slash its dividend in half to 12 cents per share, starting next month. The company also released annual profit projections that were well below what Wall Street had been expecting. Chairman and CEO John Flannery, speaking to investors gathered in Boston, said the cost-cutting maneuver is part of the measures GE will undertake to make the company simpler and stronger. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, falling $1.42 to $19.07.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.39 percent from 2.40 percent late Friday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 10 cents to $56.84 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 27 cents to $63.25 in London.

Energy companies were trading broadly lower. Range Resources slid 52 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $18.71.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.64 yen from 113.54 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1659 from $1.1618. The pound slid to $1.3098 from $1.3126 as investors worried that British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a rebellion within her own party over the handling of the Brexit talks.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX shed 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 0.7 percent lower. London’s FTSE 100 slid 0.2 percent. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent. Seoul’s Kospi slid 0.5 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent. India’s Sensex lost 0.4 percent. Benchmarks in New Zealand and Jakarta rose, while Taiwan and Singapore declined.