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Overnight Markets: Takeover deals boost US stocks

The S&P 500 rose to an almost two-month high as investors shrug off a surprise contraction in manufacturing.

Overnight Markets: Takeover deals boost US stocks

Stocks edged higher on Monday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rising to an almost two-month high, shaking off a surprise contraction in manufacturing as takeovers helped the market recover from earlier losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down nine points, or 0.07%, at 12,871. The S&P 500 Index was up three points, or 0.25%, at 1,366. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16 points, or 0.55%, at 2,951.

Shares declined earlier after the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index came in at a lower reading than expected in June, registering a contraction in the sector. Manufacturing also weakened in eurozone and China in June.

Industrial shares were under pressure, with Boeing losing 1.5% and Caterpillar shedding 1.4%.

Adding to the negative sentiment, UBS slashed its year-end target on the S&P 500 to 1,375 from 1,475, implying that the market would only rise about 1% from current levels over the next six months. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley said the second-quarter earnings season is likely to disappoint when it begins with Alcoa next week.

Equities recovered earlier losses amid hopes the weaker data made the Fed more likely to adopt additional easy money policies. Mergers and acquisitions also helped support stocks.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals surged 8.9% after Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to buy the company for $5.3 billion. Bristol-Myers gained 0.3%.

Dell will acquire Quest Software for $2.4 billion, while Ingram Micro agreed to purchase BrightPoint for about $650 million. Shares of Dell fell 1% while Quest was flat. Computer equipment maker Ingram rose 0.5% while wireless company BrightPoint added 66.5%. Micron Technology Inc. rose 3.8% after agreeing to acquire Elpida Memory Inc., an Apple Inc. supplier.

Best Buy surged 5.9% as takeover expectation continued around the electronics retailer.

In Asia, shares rose for a fifth day today on expectations that central banks from Washington to Frankfurt may relax monetary policy to spur economic growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6% to 119 as of 11 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.2% as markets in the city reopened after a holiday yesterday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1% before Reserve Bank’s policy meeting today, when interest rates are likely to be kept unchanged.

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