News on big acquisitions and strong corporate earnings reports lifted stocks up Monday. U.S. stocks closed broadly higher, with the Dow industrials extending its six straight gains.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.6 percent to 1,319.05. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.6 percent to 12,161.63. The Nasdaq composite rose only 0.5 percent to 2,783.99. Consolidated volume on the New York Stock Exchange came to 4 billion shares.
Conglomerate Loews Corp reported 16 percent increase in earnings and slight decline in revenue. The increase pushed its shares up 4 percent.
Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE: LO) announced good news on Q4 and record annual 2010 results. All fourth quarter earnings per diluted share, annual earning per diluted share, annual net income, annual net sales, and annual domestic wholesale shipments increased. Its announcement of increasing sales and prices of it products pushed its stocks higher, up 2 percent.
Pawtucket-based Hasbro Inc. reported lower earnings but the earnings did not fall short of analysts’ expectations.
Credit card giants Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) surged on a report showing better-than-expected credit card usage in December.
New York-based AOL Inc. agreed to purchase the Huffington Post for $ 315 million, of which $ 300 million was in cash. Co-founder Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.
Shares of Pride International Inc. were among the notable gainers, jumping $ 5.42, or 16 percent, to $ 39.80, the largest gain in over two years. The gain was buoyed by acquisition news from Ensco PLC, the oil driller with rigs from Mexico to Indonesia, would buy Pride for $ 7.3 billion. The Pride-Ensco deal was valued at $ 41.60 per share.
Beckman Coulter Inc. jumped 10 percent after $ 5.8 billion deal from Danaher Corp. The deal would value the medical diagnostics company at $ 83.50 a share. And, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. announced to buy all of the shares of Wesco Financial Inc.
It is likely that good news of mergers and earnings reports will give traders the reason to buy stocks.
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