On The Fly: Top stock stories for Monday
Stocks opened little changed and remained that way throughout the session. The averages moved in a narrow range as the focus of the day was more on the astronomical event of the solar eclipse than any macroeconomic data. Oil prices had a tough day, falling over 2% by the close, while gold prices rose by almost 0.5%. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed National Activity index fell to -0.01 in July after bouncing to 0.16 in June. COMPANY NEWS: In M&A news, Total (TOT) announced a deal to buy E&P company Maersk Oil & Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of A.P. Moller - Maersk A/S, in a share and debt transaction. Under the agreed terms, Maersk will receive $4.95B in Total shares and Total will assume $2.5B of Maersk Oil's debt... Meanwhile, Sempra Energy (SRE) shares were 1.6% higher after the company announced an agreement to acquire Energy Future Holdings, the indirect owner of 80% of Oncor Electric, for roughly $9.45B in cash. Following the news, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), which previously proposed to buy the Oncor parent, said that EFH had terminated their acquisition agreement with Warren Buffett's company... Additionally, multiple media reports indicate that China's Great Wall Motor is interested in acquiring part of or all of Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), with the company said to be expressing a specific interest in the Jeep business. Fiat, which saw its shares trading in New York rise 7% after the news, announced in response that it has not been approached by Great Wall in "connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business." MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was 58.com (WUBA), which gained over 20% after the company reported better than expected quarterly earnings and revenue. Also higher was Herbalife (HLF), which rose nearly 10% after the company disclosed it was recently in talks with an unnamed "prospective financial investor" regarding a potential transaction that could have led to the company being taken private. The company, which said those talks recently ended, also commenced an offer to purchase for cash up to $600M of shares of its common stock with a contingent right for those who tender shares if the company were to go private in the next two years. Among the noteworthy losers was Finish Line (FINL), which fell 10% after UBS analyst Michael Binetti downgraded the stock to Sell from Neutral based on the structural risks exposed by Foot Locker (FL) in its quarterly report. Foot Locker, which fell far on Friday after reporting weaker than expected results, slid another 7.5% today. INDEXES: The Dow rose 29.24, or 0.13%, to 21,703.75, the Nasdaq lost 3.40, or 0.05%, to 6,213.13, and the S&P 500 advanced 2.82, or 0.12%, to 2,428.37.