U.S. markets rallied today amid word of a new Greek proposal that contained new concessions to try to unblock the impasse in recent talks with eurozone officials. European stocks rallied even more in anticipatory celebration.
Another positive for the markets was a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report that existing home sales increased 5.1% in May, achieving a level not seen since November 2009. The annualized rate is now 5.35 million units, and above analysts’ forecasts for 5.26 million. The median home price was also up by over 7% year-over-year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 gained 0.6%, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.7%, closing at a record high. Sectors were all higher today, with telecommunications and financials leading the way.
Recently many stocks have blasted higher on talk of being acquired, or on acquiring other companies. Ironically, today both Williams Companies (WMB) and Cigna (CI) rejected bids to be acquired, and still rallied strongly. Those two and Epizyme (EPZM) are three of today’s best stocks.
Williams Companies (WMB)
WMB stock was nearly 26% higher today after the natural gas pipeline operator rejected a buyout order worth roughly $53 billion. Williams did not reveal the identity of the buyer, but various media sources are reporting that the offer came from Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE).
The proposal was said to be an all-equity deal for WMB stock, valued at $64 a share, and a 32% premium to Friday’s closing price of $48.34. Despite this, Williams rejected the offer because it says it did not value its business properly. Another reason for the rejection was because it was contingent upon WMB terminating its recently proposed acquisition of Williams Partners LP (WPZ).
Analysts feel that Williams will now have to prove that it can stand alone and exceed the offered value, or get a better offer from another company. InvestorPlace contributor Aaron Levitt was recently quite bullish on WMB stock.
Speaking of rejecting one’s suitor, CI turned down the latest offer from fellow health insurer Anthem (ANTM) for $184 per share in cash and stock, or roughly $54 billion. CI was said to have rejected the offer because it was “inadequate” and not in the best interests of CI shareholders.
This is the fourth time that ANTM has made a bid for CI, and has been rejected each time. Like a lad who keeps getting rejected by the same young lass, perhaps it’s time for ANTM to look for another potential suitor.
CI stock rallied 4.7% on the news.
Shares of EPZM stock surged 25.2% higher on three times normal volume today after reporting positive results from its phase 1 trial of tazemetostat (EPZ-6438), an oral treatment for advanced B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) and solid tumors.
The study consisted of 15 patients with the disease, and was conducted between two and 10 months of therapy. Nine patients achieved an objective response, with two of those having an ongoing complete response. The results were presented at the 13th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma in Switerland.
EZPM stock is up more than 55% since the beginning of May.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
More From InvestorPlace
- Worst Bond Funds to Own Now
- Why CarMax Stock Feels Used Up
- Read the Fine Print Behind the Cloud Mega-Trend