Stocks have been higher from the open after China's Vice Premier Liu He made some positive comments over the weekend about "substantial progress" made with the U.S. in laying the groundwork for a phase-one trade deal. Brexit also remains a focus after a vote in the House of Commons that was expected to take place on Saturday was pre-empted and has been pushed off again today. Domestically, earnings remain front and center as the pace of reports will pick-up considerably in what will be one of the busiest weeks of the season in terms of updates from S&P 500 members. However, the pickup will really come in earnest starting tomorrow, as this morning was relatively light on the earnings front outside of reports from Halliburton (HAL) and SAP (SAP).
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no major economic data was released.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Boeing (BA) were under continued pressure in morning trading following Friday’s revelations of 2016 emails which called into question the safety of the 737 MAX jet's flight control system. A Morgan Stanley analyst said he believes the headlines of a potential Boeing "cover up" turned out to be a "false alarm" in his view, but at least three other firms on Wall Street lowered their ratings on the jetmaker, which saw its shares fall 7% on Friday and continue lower by another 3.5% so far in today's session.
AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Cardinal Health (CAH) and McKesson (MCK) announced that they have agreed to a $215M settlement with two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit, in the first track of the multi-district opioid litigation. With this settlement agreed upon, the companies and the other parties will now continue the work toward a global resolution, the drug distributors stated. According to reports, the Ohio counties will receive $215M in cash from the distributors and another $20M from Teva, along with an additional $25M in anti-addiction medication from the drugmaker.
In M&A news, Innophos Holdings (IPHS) announced an affiliate of One Rock Capital Partners will acquire the company for $32.00 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $932M, including the assumption of debt. Additionally, Coty (COTY) announced it is launching a process to explore strategic alternatives for its Professional Beauty business and associated hair brands, as well as the company's Brazilian operations. Upon completion of the potential divestiture, the company expects to reduce financial leverage with a resulting pro forma target leverage ratio of approximately 3 times net debt to EBITDA. Coty's net debt/EBITDA target of 3.0 times suggests proceeds of at least $4.0B-$4.5B, but total proceeds "could extend toward $6.0B-$6.5B," according to Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Seattle Genetics (SGEN), which rose 16% after announcing the HER2CLIMB trial met the primary endpoint of progression-free survival, showing that the addition of tucatinib was superior to trastuzumab and capecitabine alone, with a 46% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death.
Also higher was PetMed Express (PETS), which gained 30% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Infosys (INFY), which slid 12% after the company disclosed that it received "anonymous whistleblower complaints alleging certain unethical practices."
Also lower was Micro Focus (MFGP), which fell 13% after OpenText (OTEX) said it is not considering an acquisition of the company, as had been claimed in a report published on Friday.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 25.61, or 0.10%, to 26,795.81, the Nasdaq was up 66.26, or 0.82%, to 8,155.80, and the S&P 500 was up 15.78, or 0.53%, to 3,001.98.