Stocks are in a relative holding pattern, but with an upward bias through the morning hours, ahead of the Fed's FOMC meeting, which kicks off tomorrow and concludes on Wednesday. Investors have been more hopeful that the central bank will offer more assistance following its recent comments about being mindful of the risk posed from trade fights and tariffs, though it remains to be seen if a rate cut will be coming this week or simply foreshadowed as a possibility later in the year if economic growth slows.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Empire State manufacturing index plunged 26.4 points to a 3-year low of -8.6 in June from a 6-month high of 17.8 in May.
TOP NEWS: Pfizer (PFE) headlined a busy morning for deals, announcing an agreement to acquire Array BioPharma (ARRY), a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of targeted small molecule medicines to treat cancer, for $48 per share in cash, for a total enterprise value of approximately $11.4B.
In other M&A news, Sotheby's announced an agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as art collector, Patrick Drahi. Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders will receive $57 in cash per share of Sotheby's common stock in a transaction with an enterprise value of $3.7B.
Additionally, C&J Energy Services (CJ) and Keane Group (FRAC) announced the companies will combine in an all-stock merger of equals. The combined company will be positioned as a diversified oilfield services provider with a pro-forma enterprise value of approximately $1.8B, including $255M of net debt.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was ArQule (ARQL), which rose 19% after it announced preliminary results from its miransertibe study.
Also higher was Eventbrite (EB), which gained 6% after William Blair analyst Ryan Sundby initiated coverage of the stock with an Outperform rating.
Among the notable losers was PaySign (PAYS), which slid 11% after after BTIG analyst Mark Palmer downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy citing valuation.
Also lower was Ashford Hospitality (AHT), which fell 5% after DA Davidson analyst James Lykins downgraded to the stock to Neutral from Buy and cut his price target on the shares to $4 from $7.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 44.55, or 0.17%, to 26,134.16
, the Nasdaq was up 56.73, or 0.73%, to 7,853.39
, and the S&P 500 was up 5.74, or 0.20%, to 2,892.72