It seemed like an uneventful Monday to start the holiday-shortened week as the major U.S. equity benchmarks ebbed between small gains and losses throughout the day. When the closing bell sounded, the S&P 500 finished up 0.1% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average settled higher by 0.12%. With some help from tech and biotech issues, the Nasdaq Composite added 0.28%.
Data out Monday revealed some potentially concerning signs for consumers, with gas prices on the rise and existing home sales slumping. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales dipped 7.1% last month to an annual rate of 5.08 million.
The feel of a Merger Monday and executive shuffling helped make Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (NYSE:HOT), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and The Valspar Corp (NYSE:VAL) three of today’s best stocks.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc soared 4.5% after the hotel operator agreed to a sweetened takeover offer from rival Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR). HOT is accepting a $13.6 billion offer from Marriott, rebuffing Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group in the process.
Marriott’s new offer for HOT values the company at $79.53 per share, up from an original offer of $72.08 in November. Anbang’s initial offer for HOT was $12.8 billion, which the Chinese company later boosted to over $13.1 billion.
Had Anbang been successful in acquiring HOT, the deal would have been the largest acquisition of U.S. real estate assets by a Chinese company to date.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX)
Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the embattled Canadian pharmaceuticals firm, jumped 7.4% on volume that was more than triple the daily average after J. Michael Pearson said he will leave his role as chief executive officer and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman will join the company’s board of directors.
The news does not free VRX from controversy, as the company said it will restate some financial results. Additionally, former VRX CFO Howard Schiller is under fire for allegations of improper conduct. Schiller denies the allegations.
“As former CFO of the Company, I want to be very clear that the 8-K filed by the Company today, and the Company press release issued today, contain an incorrect statement. Contrary to the statement in the 8-K and press release, at no time did I engage in any improper conduct that relates to any restatement of revenue the Company is considering,” according to a statement issued by Schiller.
The Valspar Corp (VAL)
Shares of paint maker Valspar surged 23.1% on volume that was 16 times above the daily average on news rival Sherwin-Williams Co (NYSE:SHW) will acquire the company for more than $9 billion. The deal for VAL is more than 10 times larger than the $830 million Sherwin-Williams paid for Minwax in 1996 in what was previously the company’s largest acquisition.
Sherwin-Williams will pay $113 a share for VAL, a 41% premium to VAL’s volume-weighted average price for the month ending March 18, according to Reuters. Should VAL shareholders approve the deal, the transaction is slated to close in the first quarter of 2017.
At the time of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities.
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