Deals Push Stocks Up
Business Roundup for Monday, February 24.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has fallen short of an all-time closing high, but still ended higher following another batch of corporate merger news. RF Micro Devices jumped 21 percent after the chipmaker said it was combining with TriQuint Semiconductor. TriQuint soared 26 percent The S&P 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 1,847.61, barely missing its record high close of 1,848.38 reached on Jan. 15. The index had slumped since then as investors grew worried about slowing growth in the U.S. and China The Dow Jones industrial average rose 103 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,207.14 and the Nasdaq rose 29 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,292.97. Jos. A. Bank rose 9 percent after Men’s Wearhouse increased its offer for the clothing retailer.
NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook shares are up, with investors still buzzing about the company’s decision to buy WhatsApp. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his company’s $19 billion acquisition of the mobile messaging service will allow the startup to focus on growing its user base — and not on making money — over the next five years. Zuckerberg says WhatsApp is on track to reach a billion users.
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Netflix are up more than 3 percent today after a weekend announcement that it had struck a deal with Comcast to ensure that the online video service’s TV shows and movies stream smoothly. It’s the first deal Netflix has reached with an internet service provider. Comcast’s shares are also higher today.
FORT ERIE, Ontario (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have begun inspecting U.S.-bound cargo trucks in Canada north of the Peace Bridge. U.S. customs officers can now inspect trucks at the roomier Canadian plaza. Officials will watch the pilot program to see whether it reduces congestion and pollution-causing idling on the bridge. It is one of the northern border’s busiest crossings, handling more than 1 million truck crossings every year.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett is offering a refresher on his approach to investing in in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. In excerpts published by Fortune magazine, Buffet says he didn’t know much about farming when he bought a 400-acre Nebraska farm in 1986, but he could tell the place would remain productive and there was little downside given the low price. Buffett says while you don’t need to be an expert, stick to what you know and focus on what an investment will produce, not its price. He also advises against trying to predict what the economy or stock market will do.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 189 points, or 1.2 percent, to 16,258 and the Nasdaq composite rose 41 points, or 1 percent, to 4,304.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder wants Congress to require businesses to quickly alert consumers and law enforcement agencies when there’s a big data breach like the ones at Target and Neiman Marcus. Holder says action by Congress would enable law enforcement agencies to investigate such crimes thoroughly and would hold companies accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe.
FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — Men’s Wearhouse is stepping up its pursuit of Jos. (Joseph) A. Bank, boosting the takeover offer for its rival by 10 percent to about $1.78 billion. The move comes 10 days after Jos. A Bank announced that it was planning to buy the parent company of Eddie Bauer in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $825 million. But at the time Jos. A. Bank left the door open, saying that it may end the Eddie Bauer deal if it receives an acquisition offer that is superior.
NEW YORK (AP) — EBay says it’s sticking with PayPal, whether minority shareholder Carl Icahn (EYE’-kahn) likes it or not. The online auction site says it continues to believe stockholders are best served by keeping PayPal as part of the company. EBay was responding to a blistering letter from Icahn that pressed for the San Jose, Calif., company to shed the payments business. Last month eBay said Icahn was seeking a non-binding shareholder resolution to spin off PayPal.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal judge in Virginia has given preliminary approval to a $265 million settlement with former Massey Energy investors who say they were deliberately misled about the company’s safety record. Alpha Natural Resources, which bought Massey in 2011, says there’ll be a hearing in June to discuss the settlement. Investors say Massey repeatedly lied about its long history of violations and artificially inflated stock prices between 2008 and 2010.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — International stock markets mostly fell today after a slower increase in Chinese property prices added to jitters about the strength of the world’s No. 2 economy. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose but remained below $102.50. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Investors won’t have much economic news to guide them as they begin the trading week. There are no major economic reports due out today. But tomorrow, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for December and the fourth quarter will be released along with the Consumer Confidence Index for February. Also, Home Depot and Macy’s will report quarterly earnings.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Business economists are almost equally divided over whether the Federal Reserve will pare back bond purchases at the current pace through year’s end or take a small breather to let the economy recover further. The National Association for Business Economics conducted its twice-a-year survey of 230 members between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. About 43 percent of members thought the Fed would complete its so-called “tapering” in the fourth quarter. About 42 percent thought the tapering would finish in 2015 or later.
NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix has reached a deal with Comcast to ensure that its TV shows and movies are streamed smoothly to households, the first deal the online video streaming service has reached with an Internet service provider. The two companies said in a joint statement yesterday they’re establishing a more direct connection to provide a better service to customers that will also allow for future growth in Netflix traffic. The companies say the arrangement is already working.
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