U.S. stocks rose, after equities posted their first weekly drop in a month, as corporate deals and data showing a faster-than-forecast rise in industrial output overshadowed the growing unrest in Iraq.
Covidien Plc surged 21 percent after Medtronic Inc. agreed to buy the Irish company for $42.9 billion. Williams Cos. jumped 24 percent after agreeing to buy control of Access Midstream Partners LP for $6 billion. Level 3 Communications Inc. slid 4.6 percent after agreeing to buy TW Telecom Inc. for about $5.7 billion. Home Depot Inc. gained 1.1 percent after data showed U.S. homebuilder confidence rose the most in almost a year.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.2 percent to 1,939.74 at 10:57 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,787.50. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 7.6 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of day.
“It looks like things are moving in the right direction,” said Kevin Caron, portfolio manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in Florham Park, New Jersey. His firm manages about $170 billion. “You’ve got a market that’s really got a laundry list of good things on one side. When you have geopolitics weighing on the other side, it’s always a lot of give and take on the way the market is going to go in the near term.”
The S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent last week, snapping a three-week rally that had pushed equities to all-time highs, as Sunni insurgents in Iraq occupied more territory and oil prices jumped to an eight-month high.
Iraq’s army killed more than 279 rebels yesterday as the prospect of civil war in OPEC’s second-largest producer intensified with Sunni Muslim insurgents controlling territory north of Baghdad. West Texas Intermediate crude pared gains after Bank of America Corp. said the complete halt of Iraqi output, concentrated at the opposite end of the country, is “highly unlikely.” The price remained near a nine-month high.
Ukraine said Russia cut natural gas supplies after demanding fuel payments be made in advance, the first time shipments have been affected in this year’s crisis in relations between the two countries. Tensions escalated at the weekend with 49 servicemen killed when pro-Russia fighters shot down an aircraft. “Investors are just trying to work the Iraqi situation through their mind and keep an even keel at this point,” Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., which oversees $2 billion, said in a phone interview. “Numbers have been slightly better than consensus all the way through. We’re not exactly jumping, but there’s a little bit of optimism out there.”