Markets started out the first full work week in September with a bang, as economic news from China — where exports rose 7.3% in August — and merger & acquisitions activity in the U.S. set the stage for a broad rally.
Helping stoke the buying were reports that Russia is working to find a solution to the problems in Syria, even as Congress reconvened and picked up its debate on possible military action.
All three indices extended last week’s gains. The Nasdaq led the way, moving 1.26% higher to finish at 3706.18, and the S&P 500 finished up for a sixth straight session, closing up 1% at 1671.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.94% at 15063.12.
Privately held Koch Industries announced it will purchase electronic connector manufacturer Molex (MOLX) for $7.2 billion, or $38.50 per share — a 31% premium to Friday’s close. Molex shares finished up 13 cents higher than the bid price.
Blackberry (BBRY) jumped 6% on rumors of a possible buyout by Canadian investor Prem Watsa. BBRY shares are up more than 16% since announcing it was seeking alternatives (read: buyout candidates) for its future.
Also, Ares Management LLC and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board reportedly are teaming up to buy privately held luxury retailer Neiman Marcus for $6 billion, which also had been considering an IPO.
Carl Ichan actually gave up on the M&A front, announcing he will no longer fight Michael Dell and Silver Lake Capital Partners‘ bid to take Dell Inc. (DELL) private. A shareholder vote on the proposal — which is for $13.75 per share plus a one-time dividend payment of 13 cents per share — is due Thursday. Dell finished unchanged on the day.
Homebuilders got a double dose of good news, as MDC Holdings (MDC) rose over 6% after an upgrade to “neutral” from Citigroup and Hovnanian (HOV) rose more than 2% after announcing its contract backlog was 28% higher compared to one year ago. The news helped propel industry names including PulteGroup (PHM, +7.5%), D.R. Horton (DHI, +6.5%) and Lennar (LEN, +5.4%) ahead.
- Fusion-io (FIO): Up 25.6% ($2.77) to $13.60.
- Sears Holdings (SHLD): Up 12.8% ($6.02) to $53.07.
- Delta Air Lines (DAL): Up 9.4% ($1.87) to $21.76.
- Eldorado Gold (EGO): Down 4.3% (36 cents) to $8.07.
- Tesla Motors (TSLA): Down 3.8% ($6.29) to $160.68.
- Tenet Healthcare (THC): Down 3.7% ($1.47) to $38.39.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL.