Stocks opened in positive territory, extending their rally from yesterday. The strength, which pushed the Dow and S&P to their best level since early December, was attributed to investors' optimism over the avoidance of another government shutdown and progress in the trade talks being held in Beijing. Oil prices also rose and closed just below $54 a barrel, gaining 1.5% for the session.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Consumer Prices Index was flat in January, with the core reading up 0.2%, meaning the inflation measure was cooler on the headline and as-expected for the core. DOE inventory data showed a weekly rise of 3.6M barrels in crude supplies.
In White House news, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump will likely sign the border-security agreement Congress reached this week that would keep the government open past Friday. The president is expected to sign the deal unless there are any late changes, according to the Journal.
TOP NEWS: In M&A news, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced that its Ethicon unit agreed to acquire Auris Health, a privately held developer of robotic technologies, for approximately $3.4B in cash. Additional contingent payments of up to $2.35B may be payable upon reaching certain milestones, the company noted.
Levi Strauss & Co. announced that it has filed a registration statement with the SEC relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its Class A common stock. Levi Strauss intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "LEVI."
Apple (AAPL) was in focus after CNBC reported that the company is in the final stages of preparing its new streaming video service and is aiming for a rollout in April or early May. In addition, the SEC confirmed that it filed insider trading charges against a former senior attorney at Apple whose duties included executing the company's insider trading compliance efforts.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Apollo Global (APO) is closing in on a deal to acquire a group of local television stations from Nexstar Media (NXST) for over $1B. The companies could announce a deal as soon as next week, according to Bloomberg.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which rose 7% after it reported quarterly results and said it will cut 8% of its total headcount. Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Diebold (DBD) and Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), which gained a respective 39% and 30%.
Among the notable losers was Teva (TEVA), which dropped 8% after the drugmaker gave lower than expected guidance for the new fiscal year and said it plans to close 11 manufacturing facilities in 2019. Also lower were Groupon (GRPN) and TripAdvisor (TRIP), which fell 11% and 6%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 117.51, or 0.46%, to 25,543.27
, the Nasdaq gained 5.76, or 0.08%, to 7,420.38
, and the S&P 500 advanced 8.30, or 0.3%, to 2,753.03