June 9 - M&A led the markets higher, with Tyson locking up Hillshire; Merck and Analog Devices announced deals; Apple's stock split drove trading volume; Icahn's Family Dollar play. Lily Jamali reports.
The major indexes all ended higher Monday.The Dow inching closer to 17,000. The S&P rising slightly by .09%. The Nasdaq up .34% M&A leading the way. Several big deals, starting with Tyson Foods, winning the bidding war for Hillshire Brands. Tyson's $8.5 billion all-cash offer beating out Pilgrim's Pride's bid for the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. Hillshire shares ended higher. Shares of Tyson and Pilgrim's both falling Monday. Pharmaceutical company Merck making news with the announcement that it's buying Hepatitis C drug producer Idenix, for more than three times that company's Friday closing price. Merck plans to join forces with Idenix on a new therapy for Hep C to compete with one offered by Gilead Sciences. Rounding out this Merger Monday: semi-conductor maker Analog Devices ending higher after acquiring chipmaker Hittite Microwave to expand its radio-frequency portfolio. On the day its highly-antipicated 7-to-1 stock split took effect, Apple was the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq. The stock closed slightly higher. But Keith Bachman at BMO Capital Markets says not to rush into a big position just because it seems cheaper: SOUNDBITE: KEITH BACHMAN, SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST, BMO CAPITAL MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We're not a big believer in sustained value created from a stock split. We think it makes it a little bit easier for retail investors to get in particular to get in because it's a $100 stock price but we don't think on a fundamental basis, anything really changes." Also contributing to the rise: a report from Nikkei news service that Apple's preparing to sell its first wearable device in October. Other market movers include Family Dollar Stores, the biggest gainer on the S&P, jumping by double digits on news from Friday that activist investor Carl Icahn owns a more than 9% stake. Competitor Dollar General also gained on the day as expectations grow that Icahn may push for a merger. European markets ended the day higher.