The stock market nudged higher Monday after a handful of U.S. companies announced deals. Family Dollar's stock jumped following news that investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the company.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,955, shortly after noon.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,964, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 23 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,345.
On Friday, the S&P 500 index notched another record high, its eighth in 10 trading days.
The market has been on a steady climb for three weeks running, pulling the S&P 500 up 4 percent in a month. Judging by some measures, that sudden success makes it look like the S&P 500 has moved “too far, too fast,” said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
But there are still plenty of traders laying bets against the market, and people have recently taking billions out of stock funds. Last week, for instance, the Investment Company Institute reported that investors pulled $2.4 billion out of U.S. stock funds in the week ending May 28.
“We don't think there's an overwhelming amount of optimism right now,” Bell said.
Tyson Foods emerged as the winner in a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, beating an offer by Pilgrim's Pride for the meat-processing company. Tyson raised its offer to $63 a share, beating Pilgrim's Pride's offer of $55 a share. That drove Hillshire's stock up $2.95, or 5 percent, to $61.87. Tyson Foods slipped $1.69, or 4.2 percent, to $38.32.
Merck announced a deal to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals for $3.85 billion, an acquisition that would give the pharmaceutical giant Idenix's array of treatments for hepatitis C. Idenix soared $16.97, or 234 percent, to $24.20.
In a regulatory filing on Friday, Carl Icahn said he and his affiliates have picked up a 9 percent stake in Family Dollar, a discount store, and plan to look for changes to boost the company's value. Family Dollar's stock jumped $7, or 12 percent, to $67.52.
Apple's stock rose 73 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $92.95. That's after closing at of $645.57 on Friday. What happened? The difference reflects Apple's 7-for-1 stock split. Every Apple stockholder received six additional shares for every share they owned. On its own, the split didn't change Apple's market value.
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 2.61 percent from 2.59 percent late Friday. Yields rise when bond prices fall. The price of oil rose $1.54 to $104.19 a barrel.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times