The Nasdaq cracked a new intraday record and the S&P 500 came within eight points of an all-time closing high in trading on Monday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,134.23, +118.28, (0.66%)
- S&P 500: 2,124.73, +14.74, (0.70%)
- Nasdaq: 5,157.31, +40.31, (0.79%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
- Investors are feeling hopeful about Greece and European stocks surged. Germany’s DAX closed 3.8% higher and had its best one-day showing since August 2012. The Euro Stoxx 50, which serves as the main benchmark index for the eurozone, closed more than 4% higher. The Athens General Composite closed up 9%.
- Greece presented a last minute proposal of economic reforms on Monday which include early retirement schemes and VAT reforms. In a brief press conference, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the reforms were “broad and comprehensive.” Greece is holding an emergency meeting with heads of state in Brussels to try and reach an agreement, ahead of the $US8.2 billion-payment due to the IMF June 30.
- Existing home sales surged 5.1%, more than expected, to an annualized pace of 5.35 million in May. It was the fastest pace of sales since November 2009. It was the eighth straight month of year-over-year gains. In the release, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, wrote: “The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low downpayment programs.”
- Anthem is not giving up on Cigna. On Monday, the health care company reiterated its offer to buy Cigna for $US184 per share, just a day after Cigna turned it down. Cigna said the terms of the deal “woefully skewed in favour of Anthem shareholders.” Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish argued the opposite in his statement today, noting that the deal would create about $US2 billion in cost-saving synergies over the next two years. The five biggest health insurers are in a scramble for consolidation. They argue that mergers will help lower costs.
- Morgan Stanley has identified a “worrying sign” for oil prices in the fall on the Atlantic. In a note Monday, Adam Longson highlighted that there are tankers of oil sitting in the Atlantic Basin, even though demand is seasonally strong. “If there are this many challenged cargoes in this strong demand environment, we worry about the outlook for physical oil this fall when crude runs and gasoline demand fall seasonally,” he wrote. North Sea and West African crude are waiting for buyers in the Atlantic basin; more supply from Libya and Iran looms. With unmatched demand, this could create volatile, possibly lower oil prices in the fall.
- Gold slipped back below the key $US1,200 level and had its worst plunge in a month. The precious metal fell more than 1% to as low as $US1,81.70 an ounce. Longson wrote in his note: “Lack of inflation, emerging financial stability in Europe, and robust economic activity in the US are all bearish for gold.”
- Martha Stewart Living is selling to Sequential Brands. The deal is worth $US400 million, and is an equally split cash and stock transaction paying $US6.15 per share. Shares of Martha Stewart tanked 11% on the news; shares jumped as much as 23% last Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal was in the works.
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