New York Report: Dow in slight rise on spate of mergers

WALL STREET edged mostly higher yesterday as investors weighed soft housing data against a flurry of deal news, including the takeover of Family Dollar Stores by Dollar Tree.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 22 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,982.59. The S&P 500 ended the day less than a point higher at 1,978.91, while Nasdaq closed 4.65 points, or 0.1 per cent, lower at 4,444.91.

Dollar Tree offered to buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5bn. The transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2 billion. Family Dollar surged 24.9 per cent to end the day at $75.74 and Dollar Tree ended up 1.2 per cent to $54.87.

Real estate website Zillow said it is buying Trulia for $3.5bn in stock. Trulia shot up 15.4 per cent to $65.04 and Zillow gained 0.9 per cent to $160.32.

El Pollo Loco Holdings, a restaurant chain that went public late last week, leaped 28.4 per cent to $30.87, continuing the rally from its trading debut on Friday.

Shares in Herbalife took a tumble after hours when it reported that quarter profits fell 17 per cent from a year earlier to $120m, or $1.31 per share. Sales climbed seven per cent from a year earlier to $1.3bn. Both figures were shy of Wall Street expectations. Despite trading up 2.15 per cent at the end of play, shares fell more than nine per cent to hover around the $61 mark.