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Stocks move higher on earnings, acquisition news

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:15 am

Corporate deals helped lift stocks in afternoon trading Monday, steering the market on course for its second consecutive gain. Investors cheered Citigroup’s latest earnings as well as acquisitions such as generic drug developer Mylan’s $5.3 billion bid for Abbott Laboratories.

Keeping score: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,977 as of 1:19 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 118 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,062. The Nasdaq composite added 24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,440.

Regaining confidence: Last week the S&P 500 lost 0.9 percent, its worst showing since April. Concern about the soundness of Portugal’s Espirito Santo International, which reportedly missed a debt payment last week, harked back to issues that spawned Europe’s debt crisis. But investors appeared to be reassured any problems would be contained.

Eyes on earnings: With the market trading near all-time highs, investors will be focused this week on a slew of corporate earnings, including quarterly reports from General Electric, Google, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson.

“The earnings numbers are expected to be pretty good,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investments. “We got started off with a very good report out of Citibank this morning. And economic news this week — retail sales, capacity utilization, housing data, confidence data — is all supposed to be pretty good.”

CITI: Citigroup’s adjusted earnings and revenue came in better than analysts had estimated. The bank also agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into the mortgage bonds it sold ahead of the financial crisis in 2008. Citi’s stock rose $1.50, or 3.2 percent, to $48.50.

Banking on banks: Several other big investment banks also rose. Morgan Stanley added 0.49, or 1.6 percent, to $31.90, while Goldman Sachs rose $2.08, or 1.3 percent, to $166.88. JPMorgan Chase climbed 65 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $56.45.

A deal: Generic drugmaker Mylan said it will buy Abbott Laboratories’ generic-drug business in developed markets for $5.3 billion. The combined company will be organized in the Netherlands, which will cut its tax bill. The company will keep its headquarters near Pittsburgh. Mylan’s stock added $1.33, or 2.6 percent, to $51.53, while shares of Abbott gained 38 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $41.67.

Sweetend bid: Kindred Healthcare is offering more cash for shares of Gentiva Health Services. Kindred said Monday it will pay $16 per share to buy up to a 14.9 percent stake in Gentiva, just short of the 15 percent limit imposed by a shareholder rights plan that Gentiva’s board adopted earlier this year. Shares of Kindred climbed 40 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $24.78, while Gentiva gained 58 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $16.40.

Buyer’s market: Kodiak Oil & Gas agreed to sell itself to Whiting Petroleum in an all-stock deal. Kodiak rose 70 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $14.93. Whiting jumped $5.55, or 7.1 percent, to $84.08. Meanwhile, engineering and construction services company URS agreed to be acquired by engineering design firm AECOM Technology for $4 billion. URS vaulted $6.15, or 11.8 percent, to $58.17, while AECOM gained $2.74, or, 8.6 percent, to $34.49.

Sector watch: Eight of the 10 sectors in S&P 500 index rose, led by technology. Utilities and materials lagged. Among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 were luxury clothing maker Michael Kors, which slid $2.26, or 2.5 percent to $86.54.

Bonds: In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.55 percent from 2.52 percent late Friday.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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