Energy and Technology Companies Lead U.S. Stocks Higher

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(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Energy and technology companies are advancing Monday as U.S. stocks continue to rise, and smaller companies are also making gains after the Senate reached a short-term deal to end the government shutdown. High-dividend stocks are also higher as bond yields decline, but industrial companies are falling. Yields had climbed to their highest level in more than three years last week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,825 as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern time after closing at another all-time high on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 85 points, or 0.3 percent, to 26,157. The Nasdaq composite increased 52 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,388. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,601.

HEALTH-CARE DEALS: Sanofi said it will buy hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ for $105 a share, a deal the companies valued at $11.6 billion. Bioverativ makes Eloctate and Alprolix, which treat two different types of hemophilia. It’s part of Sanofi’s growing focus on rare diseases, which can command high prices at a time generic medications for more common ailments are falling.

Bioverativ jumped $39.65, or 61.8 percent, to $103.76 while Sanofi fell $1.37, or 3.1 percent, to $43.23.

Meanwhile Celgene will pay $87 a share, or $9 billion, for Juno Therapeutics. Juno is one of several companies developing CAR-T cancer therapies, which genetically engineer patients’ blood cells into “living drugs” that fight cancer. The stock surged last week on reports Celgene might buy the company. On Monday it rose $17.84, or 26.5 percent, to $85.76 while Celgene gained 34 cents to $102.99.

OPEN … FOR NOW?: Stocks turned a bit higher after Senate Democrats said they will support a bill that would fund the federal government for three weeks. The government shut down after the previous funding bill expired Friday. The threat of a shutdown has loomed for months and still isn’t resolved, but hasn’t troubled Wall Street because investors doubt it would have much effect on the market or the economy unless it persists for a long time. Smaller companies, which could be hurt the most by a reduction in consumer spending or confidence, switched from small losses to solid gains.

SHOPPING FOR INSURANCE: Insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $5.56 billion, or $68 a share. Validus gained $20.71, or 44.3 percent, to $67.43 and AIG slid 55 cents to $61.

UPS AND DOWNS: Industrial and materials companies missed out on the gains. General Electric fell 24 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.02 and 3M shed $1.79 to $246.39. Mining company Albemarle slid $2.53, or 2.2 percent, to $113.48. Big technology companies continued to rally. Google’s parent company Alphabet gained $22.70, or 2 percent, to $1,166.20 while Microsoft rose $1.19, or 1.3 percent, to $91.20.

COPY THAT: Investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason are calling for the removal of Xerox CEO Jeffrey Jacobson as the copier company reportedly seeks a deal with camera company Fujifilm. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the two companies are having talks. Icahn and Deason own 15 percent of Xerox, and they said Monday they don’t trust Jacobson to lead the potential negotiations.

The stock rose 64 cents, or 2 percent, to $32.44.

ENERGY: Halliburton climbed after the oil and gas drilling services company posted a bigger adjusted profit and greater revenue than analysts expected. Its stock advanced $2.61, or 4.9 percent, to $55.62. Competitor Schlumberger, which reported better-than-expected results Friday, gained $2.49, or 3.3 percent, to $78.91. That helped energy companies move slightly higher.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 3 cents to $63.40 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 12 cents to $68.73 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices rose, and yields were slightly lower after a run of big gains. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.65 percent from 2.66 percent late Friday, a three-year high. With yields lower, investors turned to stocks that pay big dividends, including phone and utility companies. Their large dividend payments make them an alternative to bonds for investors seeking income, and they tend to do better when yields fall.

POWER UP: Utility company FirstEnergy surged after it received a $2.5 billion investment from a group of firms including Paul Singer’s Elliott Management. Those investors will get $1.62 billion in convertible stock and $850 million in common stock, and FirstEnergy said the funds will help the company pack back debt and contribute to its pension fund as it converts to a fully-regulated utility.

Its stock climbed $3.98, or 13.5 percent, to $33.38.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.13 yen from 110.60 yen from 110.98 yen. The euro edged up to $1.2241 from $1.2234.

OVERSEAS: The French CAC 40 added 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2 percent. In Britain the FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose less than 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent. The Kospi in South Korea lost 0.7 percent.

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