Pharma Deals, Shutdown Pact Help Stocks Set More Records


Hefty gains for energy and technology companies helped U.S. stocks set more records Monday. Drugmakers announced two major deals worth about $20 billion and smaller-company stocks climbed after the Senate reached a short-term deal to end the government shutdown.

Stocks were slightly higher in the early going as strong fourth-quarter results from Halliburton helped energy companies, and big technology companies like Alphabet and Microsoft continued their ascent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 22.67 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,832.97. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 142.88 points, or 0.5 percent, to 26,214.60. The Nasdaq composite added 71.65 points, or 1 percent, to 7,408.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,605.17.

French drugmaker Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ in a deal the companies valued at $11.6 billion, while Celgene will buy cancer treatment maker Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion. In the financial sector, insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $5.56 billion.

Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ for $105 a share. Bioverativ jumped $39.68, or 61.9 percent, to $103.79 while Sanofi lost $1.40, or 3.1 percent, to $43.20.

Meanwhile Celgene will pay $87 a share, for its partner 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 $18.19, or 26.8 percent, to $86 while Celgene added 26 cents to $102.91.

Bond prices gave up an early gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.66 percent, a three-year high.

Halliburton climbed after the oil and gas drilling services company posted a bigger adjusted profit and greater revenue than analysts expected. Its stock advanced $3.39, or 6.4 percent, to $56.40. Competitor Schlumberger, which reported better-than-expected results Friday, gained $3.37, or 4.4 percent, to $79.79.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $63.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 42 cents to $69.03 a barrel in London.

Insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $68 a share. Validus gained $20.57, or 44 percent, to $67.29 and AIG slid 55 cents to $61.

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 pay back debt and contribute to its pension fund as it converts to a fully-regulated utility.

Its stock climbed $3.05, or 10.4 percent, to $32.45.