Stocks are mildly higher in trading so far, holding near all-time highs. Amid the broad strength, healthcare has been among the relative underperforming sectors after Bristol-Meyers (BMY) said it must divest a top drug to get U.S. government approval to merge with Celgene (CELG). Tensions with Iran remain elevated, with President Donald Trump announcing plans for new sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation today. Meanwhile, the G20 summit, where Presidents Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet, looms at the end of the week.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago National Activity index for May rose 0.43 points to -0.05. The Dallas Fed manufacturing index dropped another 6.8 points to -12.1 in June, which was well below expectations.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene have slipped a respective 7% and 5% after announcing that Bristol-Myers is planning the divestiture of psoriasis treatment Otezla in order to allow the Celgene merger to close on a timely basis in light of concerns expressed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. According to STAT News, the news could be "an antidote" for any pharma CEO "still intoxicated" by the idea of a mega merger.
In other M&A related news, Eldorado Resorts (ERI) announced an agreement to acquire Caesars (CZR) for $12.75 per share in cash and stock, or a total consideration of $17.3B. Following the announcement, Carl Icahn said he is "pleased" with the planned merger. Caesars shares surged 16% after the news while Eldorado was 10% lower at midday.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was PCM, Inc. (PCMI), which jumped 42% after entering into an agreement under which Insight Enterprises (NSIT) will acquire PCM for $35 per share. Insight was up 2% after the news. Also higher was Krystal Biotech (KRYS), which gained 25% after the company announced positive results from its GEM-2 study of KB103 in patients with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa as well as a positive update on the GEM-1 Phase 1 trial of KB103.
Among the notable losers was Sally Beauty (SBH), which tumbled 12.5% after Amazon Business (AMZN) launched the Amazon Professional Beauty Store. Also lower was Wabtec (WAB), which fell 6% after Buckingham analyst Matthew Brooklier downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 48.39, or 0.18%, to 26,767.52, the Nasdaq was up 0.57, or 0.01%, to 8,032.27, and the S&P 500 was up 1.85, or 0.06%, to 2,952.31.