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S&P starts week with record close

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 02:29

$100 billion dollars in deals helped drive stocks to a new record, despite concerns about the Japanese economy. Bobbi Rebell reports.

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A record start to the week. The S&P 500 edging higher to close at a new high- $100 billion dollars in deal activity offsetting concerns about Japan's economy slipping into a recession. In a busy merger Monday, Halliburton didn't take no for an answer and notched a deal to buy Baker Hughes. Baker Hughes had rejected Halliburton's offer on Friday after a month of talks. But the oilfield services companies decided to tie the knot to take on industry leader Schlumberger. Baker Hughes' shares soared but stopped well short of Halliburton's offer price. Reuters M&A correspondent Mike Stone says the sector may see more deals ahead: SOUNDBITE: MIKE STONE, M&A CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If cheap gas is here to stay, these people are first movers and trying to save themselves as their margins get squeezed. I would expect to see more mergers in the oil and gas oilfield services sector moving forward." Activist investor Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are taking a walk. Their takeover target, Allergan, agreed to be bought by Actavis for $66 billion. Ackman emerges a winner anyway because his stake in the Botox maker is now worth more than $2.4 billion. Other Allergan and Actavis shareholders victorious, too; both of their stocks rose. Nightmare for shareholders of DreamWorks Animation. Their stock sank as merger talks between the studio and toymaker Hasbro reportedly stopped. Hasbro shares rose. LinkedIn's stock fell after the Financial Times reported that Facebook is secretly working on an office version of its social network. "Facebook at Work" would also let users share and edit documents and chat with contacts, invading Google's and Microsoft's turf. Shares of Facebook and Google also eased. Dow stock Pfizer fell. The drug maker signed a cancer deal with Germany's Merck. That dampened investors' hopes that it would bid again for AstraZeneca after its first attempt in May had failed. Economists reigned in their optimism over the current quarter, trimming their U.S. growth forecasts, according to the Philadelphia Fed survey. And Fed stats showed vehicle production fell for the third straight month in October, suggesting a quarterly slowdown in economic growth. In Europe, ECB president Mario Draghi's reassurances that he's willing to do more to fight deflation extended the markets' gains.

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S&P starts week with record close

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 02:29