A string of deal activity, especially in the healthcare sector, helped lift stocks on Monday, rebounding from a sharp decline last week. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A string of health care deals got the bulls running on Wall Street. Biotechs led the charge for the second straight session. Consumer spending barely budged last month, consumers tucking away money they saved on cheap gas. Economist Bob Brusca: SOUNDBITE: ROBERT BRUSCA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FAO ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that's what you're seeing. Consumers don't have confidence, and, since they don't have confidence, they're not out there spending." But sales of existing homes rose much more than expected to their highest level in 1-1/2 years last month. Here's the merger Monday rundown: UnitedHealth's nearly $13 billion purchase of pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran. It'll combine that with its PBM unit, OptumRx. Generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical is scooping up drug developer Auspex Pharmaceuticals for $3.5 billion. And Ireland's Horizon is buying drug maker Hyperion for $1.1 billion. The U.S. hasn't seen this much deal activity in drugs in six years. And Fortune Brands Home & Security is buying the cabinets manufacturer, Norcraft for $441 million. Back by popular demand, according to Ford, the Lincoln Continental. Ford is reviving the classic name as its top luxury line. CEO Mark Fields showed off a prototype. SOUNDBITE: MARK FIELDS, CEO, FORD MOTOR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It signifies for us, or signals for us, what we are calling the future of quiet luxury, which is around elegance, effortless power and a serene and relaxing interior." Merger talks also revved up shares in Europe. Tech stocks helped the markets bounce back from last week's losses.