Stocks rallied, erasing most of their losses from yesterday’s sell-off, as all the major stock indices finished the week higher.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,100.18, +123.4, (+0.7%)
- S&P 500: 1,978.22, +20.1, (+1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,432.15, +68.7, (+1.6%)
And now, the top stories of the day:
1) The day’s lone economic data point for the session was the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment survey, which came in a bit below expectations. The reading for July slipped to 81.3 from 82.5 in June, also below expectations for 83.0. Following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said the dip was likely due to gas prices. “The dip is due entirely to a 2.4-point decline in the expectations component, which we think is due to the temporary spike in gasoline prices triggered by the chaos in Iraq. We expect a rebound in August,” wrote Shepherdson.
2) In mergers & acquisitions news, AbbVie agreed to acquire Shire in a deal worth $US53 billion that will allow the company to move its tax base to Jersey, an island in the English Channel. The deal is the latest in a series of deals in the pharmaceutical space that have been so-called “tax inversion” deals in which the acquiring company moves its tax base to enjoy lower a corporate tax rate.
3) Noted hedge fund manager Dan Loeb published his latest quarterly letter to clients, revealing both a new stake in a Dutch nutrition company and his thoughts on Fed policy. Loeb said his Third Point fund recently initiated a position in Royal DSM, which last year had about $US12 billion sales. In regards to Fed policy, Loeb said that waiting for the Fed to hike rates is like “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett’s play in which two friends wait for a friend to arrive that never does.
4) Forbes Media, the publisher of Forbes magazine, agreed to sell a majority stake in the company to a group of international investors, with the investment valuing the company at about $US475 million.
5) Sotheby’s, the auction house in which Dan Loeb has previously been involved, announced that it will reduce headcount in both the U.S. and U.K. as part of a restructuring plan. The plan will result in the company taking a $US13 million charge in the third quarter, with the company expecting to fully implement the reductions by the end of 2014.
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