Hot Stocks to Watch Today: AAPL, AZN, GLW, and 9 More Winners

Merger Monday lived up to its moniker today amid a flurry of deal making that put the 2014 M&A market on pace to top $3 trillion for the first time since 2007.
Hot stocks today
Announced year-to-date deal volume through Friday included 131 mergers and acquisitions and other transactions valued at $1.04 trillion, up 47% from the same time period a year ago, according to Dealogic. That includes 11 deals last week totaling $243 billion.

It wasn't deals alone sending a number of stocks higher Monday. Company developments, analysts' actions, and earnings also boosted select equities.

Following are 12 of Monday's hot stocks to watch.

12 Hot Stocks to Watch Today

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares spiked some 4%, or $20, to reach a new 52-week high of $592.95 intraday. Share momentum followed the 9% gain logged last week on the heels of a stellar quarter. Also goosing the iPhone maker's shares is a new blockbuster $17 billion debt offering from the company. It ranks as the second-largest corporate bond sale of all time. Apple did a similar $17 billon offering in April 2013 (the largest at the time), and investors ate it up. Proceeds from the slated debt sale will be used to fund Apple's $90 billion share buyback so the company doesn't have to tap its $150 billion cash stash. About $130 billion of that cash hoard, or 88%, is held overseas. Returning it to U.S. shareholders would lead to a tax charge of up to 35%.

AstraZenca PLC (NYSE ADR: AZN) shares soared 16% to a 52-week high of $79.90 in morning trading after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) confirmed renewed attempts to acquire the British pharmaceutical company for $100 billion. The UK company, however, says Pfizer's proposed price undervalues the company and refuses to engage in talks. But, Pfizer isn't giving up. "Pfizer is currently considering its options with respect to AstraZenca," New York-based Pfizer said in a statement. "Pfizer believes the strategic, business and financial rationale for a transaction is compelling." PFE shares climbed 3.06% to $31.86.

BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY) shares rose more than 1% to $7.47 intraday thanks to an upgrade from Oppenheimer. The investment firm boosted its rating on the beleaguered cellphone maker to "Perform" from "Underperform." Oppenheimer said it was a valuation call, based on the sum-of-the parts valuation. BBRY, attempting a turnaround as rivals eat into territories it once dominated, has talked about selling off segments or breaking up the company.

Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) shares climbed 7.53% to $139.82 after reaching an agreement with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA), up 1.5% to $51.79. Comcast will divest 1.4 million existing Time Warner Cable customers directly to Charter for cash. The agreement helps smooth regulatory concerns involving Comcast's $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC).

Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) shares rose 1.45% to $21.04 on better than expected Q1 earnings. The Gorilla Glass maker posted earnings per share of $0.31 on revenue of $2.39 billion. That was up from earnings per share (EPS) of $0.30 on revenue of $1.81 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts were looking for EPS of $0.30 on revenue of $2.30 billion. The company said core sales in its display technologies segment increased 58% year over year.

Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: FURX) surged nearly 30% to $103.99 after agreeing to be acquired by Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX) in a $1.33 billion deal that expands Forest Labs' presence in gastroenterology. In February, FURX shares soared 130% on positive trial results for its irritable bowel syndrome treatment. Forest, in the midst of being acquired by Actavis plc (NYSE: ACT), said the deal does not affect the Actavis takeover.

GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (Nasdaq ADR: GWPH) jumped more than 10% to $69 intraday after announcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow its pain treatment Sativex to be fast-tracked (approval accelerating with a goal review time of 60 days). Sativex is used for patients with advanced cancer. GWPH, which also develops cannabinoid prescription medicines, got a boost last week following a bullish and bold upgrade from Morgan Stanley - get that full GWPH story here.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) shares rose 0.62% to $26.85 on reports that Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt met with French President Francois Hollande to discuss GE's interest in buying the power turbine business from French engineering firm Alstom for some $10 billion. While France's economy minister has already said the government would block any deal it deems unfit, GE said in a statement the "dialogue was open, friendly and productive." Adding a wrinkle to the deal, GE rival Siemens AG (NYSE ADR: SI) has leapt into the contest for Alstom's energy business.

NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. (NYSE: NRF) shares climbed more than 10% to a five-year high of $17.87 intraday. Sending shares of the New York-based real estate investment trust surging was takeover chatter. According to reports, American Realty Capital Properties Inc. (Nasdaq: ARCP) is preparing a $20 per share bid for NRF.

Roper Industries Inc. (NYSE: ROP) shares rose more than 8% to $139.94 intraday after announcing record Q1 results for orders, revenue, margins, and cash flow. The diversified tech company posted a 13% increase in revenue to $834 million. Operating profit was $223 million, up 21% year over year. Net earnings were $147 million, or $1.46 per share, $0.11 better than expectations. Roper also boosted its FY2014 EPS guidance from $6.05-$6.25 to $6.22-$6.36.

Susser Holdings Corp. (NYSE: SUSS) shares surged nearly 40% to a 52-week high of $80 intraday Monday. Sending shares soaring was an acquisition announcement from Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE: ETP). Under the agreement, ETP will acquire the gas station and convenience store operator for roughly $1.8 billion. SUSS shareholders have the option of taking either $80.25 in cash, 1.4506 ETP commons shares, or a combination of cash and stock.

Trinity Biotech plc (Nasdaq ADR: TRIB) shares jumped nearly 9% to $25.30 thanks to a "Barron's bounce." TRIB was the subject of Barron's weekend "sizing up small-caps" column, in which David Englander detailed how the Irish maker of medical testing equipment has "made a big splash" in the diabetes testing market. But, it's the company's expected FDA approval for a new heart attack test that could send shares north of $50. Trinity reports Q1 results April 29.

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