Stocks rise on flurry of new M&A activity - New York Report

SENTIMENT was lifted yesterday as hopes grew that a deal would be reached to prevent Greece from defaulting on loans, as well as by merger and acquisition activity, helping the Nasdaq to close at a record.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 104.53 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 18,120.48, the S&P 500 gained 13 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 2,122.99 and the Nasdaq Composite added 36.97 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 5,153.97. With the day’s gains, the Nasdaq ended at a record while the S&P closed 0.3 per cent away from its own record close.

Energy Transfer Equity confirmed it had made a $48bn (£30bn) unsolicited bid for Williams Companies, hours after Williams rejected the offer as significantly too low.

Shares of Williams surged 26 per cent to $60.90 and were the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 by far.

Separately, Cigna rose 4.8 per cent to $162.65 after the health insurer rebuffed Anthem’s $47bn merger proposal on Sunday. Anthem rose 3.6 per cent to $171.04.

Homebuilders rose as existing home sales grew more than expected in May, surging to their highest in five-and-a-half years. The PHLX Housing index rose 0.9 per cent while Lennar added 1.7 per cent to $49.49.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia slumped 12.5 per cent to $6.11 on heavy volume after Sequential Brands agreed to buy the company in a deal that values it at about $353m, or $6.15 a share.

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