DJIA Up Big on Pfizer’s Buyout Bid

Jacob Harper  |

News that the US government would pay off a sizable chunk of its debt and the possible marriage of two major drug conglomerates saw the S&P and DJIA rise as the markets continue their run started during last week’s earnings bonanza.

Mostly though, traders held their breath and waited for the major economic news of the week to roll in. A quarter of the S&P reports this week, with eBay (EBAY) reporting tomorrow, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reporting Wednesday, and oil and gas majors Exxon (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) reporting on Thursday.

The Fed’s policy statement will be released on Wednesday, which should shed additional light on how the markets will end up faring for the week.

Some indication that it might be occurred right before the bell on Monday, as the US Treasury announced they would be paying off $78 billion in debt from the third fiscal quarter. This bested their own previous estimates that the pay-down would be in the neighborhood of $40 billion.

The Dow led the indices, surging after AstraZeneca plc announced they had received an astounding $100 billion buyout offer from pharma behemoth Pfizer (PFE) . The offer would represent a 30 percent premium for AstraZeneca’s shares. While the deal is far from finalized, the markets responded quickly and enthusiastically, sending shares of AstraZeneca up 15 percent and Pfizer up 3.97 percent, carrying the entire Dow into the black for the day.

The S&P saw substantial gains as well, as the markets have apparently not finished reacting to Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) big news that they would increase their buyback and split their stock 7 to 1. Shares of Apple rose 3.91 percent on the day. Microsoft followed suit, gaining 2.47 percent.

The Nasdaq was essentially flat, losing a small amount, with major sell-offs from Plug Power (PLUG) , who shed 13.22 percent, and biotech Athersys (ATHX) , who lost a whopping 51.28 percent on the day, helping drag the index into the red.

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