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Pharma deals, shutdown pact help stocks set more records

The interior of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Hefty gains for energy and technology companies helped U.S. stocks set more records Monday. Drug makers announced two major deals worth about $20 billion and smaller-company stocks climbed after the Senate reached a short-term deal to end the government shutdown.

Stocks were slightly higher in the early going as strong fourth-quarter results from Halliburton helped energy companies, and big technology companies like Alphabet and Microsoft continued their ascent. Starting at noon, after Senate Democrats said they would support a three-week government funding bill, bond yields increased and smaller-companies shook off their early losses to turn higher.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 22.67 points, or 0.8%, to 2,832.97. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 142.88 points, or 0.5%, to 26,214.60. The Nasdaq composite added 71.65 points, or 1%, to 7,408.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.54 points, or 0.5%, to 1,605.17.

The Senate was poised to pass a bill that will fund the federal government until early February. That came after Republican leaders said they will soon address immigration and other contentious political issues.

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French drug maker Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ in a deal the companies valued at $11.6 billion, while Celgene will buy cancer treatment maker Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion. In the financial sector, insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $5.56 billion.

Bioverativ jumped $39.68, or 61.9%, to $103.79 while Sanofi lost $1.40, or 3.1%, to $43.20. Bioverativ makes Eloctate and Alprolix, which treat two different types of hemophilia. The deal is part of Sanofi’s growing focus on rare diseases, which can command high prices at a time generic medications for more common ailments are falling.

Meanwhile Celgene will pay $87 a share for its partner Juno Therapeutics. Juno is one of several companies developing CAR-T cancer therapies, which genetically engineer patients’ blood cells into “living drugs” that fight cancer. The stock surged last week on reports Celgene might buy the company. On Monday it rose $18.19, or 26.8%, to $86 while Celgene added 26 cents to $102.91.

Bond prices gave up an early gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.66%, a three-year high.

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Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $63.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 42 cents to $69.03 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 110.99 yen from 110.60 yen from 110.98 yen. The euro edged up to $1.2258 from $1.2234.

Gold slipped $1.20 to $1,331.90 an ounce. Silver lost 5 cents to $16.99 an ounce. Copper gained 1 cent to $3.20 a pound.


UPDATES:

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1:45 p.m.: This article has been updated with the market’s close.

This article was originally published at 7 a.m.


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