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The S&P 500 eked out a 1.5-point gain Monday to hit yet another record high as a fresh round of mergers and acquisitions fueled optimism in the markets.
Dow: 17,647.75, +13.01, +0.07%
S&P 500: 2,041.32, +1.50, +0.07%
Nasdaq: 4,671.00, -17.54, -0.37%
What Moved the Markets Today: Markets reacted this morning to news Japan has slipped into recession. The world's third-largest economy saw its GDP slip by an annualized 1.7% in the third quarter, its second straight quarterly downturn.
Meanwhile Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced plans to develop cancer drugs with German rival Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) in a deal that could cost up to $2.8 billion. Pharmaceutical giant Actavis Plc. (NYSE: ACT) also revealed a cash-and-stock megadeal to buy Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) for $66 billion. Finally, Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) announced a $34.6 billion cash-and-stock deal to purchase oilfield-services rival Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI).
Now check out the other top stories from the stock market today:
- Expanding to China: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) hit an all-time intraday high before retreating this afternoon. The stock touched $117.28 today on news the company has signed an agreement for its mobile payment business to support UnionPay, the most popular payment card in China. Apple Pay will provide mobile support to a company that has issued 4.5 billion cards since its foundation, according to reports. Get the most important Apple stock news here.
- Socially Squeezed: Shares of LinkedIn Corp. (Nasdaq: LNKD) dipped nearly 5% on news that social media rival Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) is developing a profile platform for working professionals. Called "Facebook at Work," the new program would allow users to separate their business profiles from their personal ones and network with colleagues. Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which also competes against LinkedIn in the space, were largely unchanged.
- Today's Big Loser: The largest decliner on the day in the S&P 500 was Denbury Resources (NYSE: DNR), which hit a 52-week low. Shares in the energy firm dropped by more than 10% on news it plans to slash capex spending in 2015 by 50%. The company cited the recent decline in oil prices to justify its decision.
- Another Deal: Animal health giant Zoetis Inc. (NYSE: ZTS) announced plans to purchase a portfolio of animal health assets from Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT). The company is under renewed pressures from activist investors to boost its profits. Shares of the former Pfizer division jumped 2.5% this afternoon after purchasing the assets for $255 million. The company recently adopted a poison pill measure in an effort to deter a hostile takeover from activist investor Bill Ackman, who now owns an 8.5% stake in the company.
- The Deal Is Off: Shares of DreamWorks Animation Skg Inc. (NYSE: DWA) slumped nearly 15% on news that talks about a possible sale to Hasbro Inc. (NYSE: HAS) are now off. Talks reportedly broke down after disagreements formed over the structure of the company after a deal were to take place. Shares of Hasbro jumped more than 4% on the news.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
- Profit from China's Currency Move: As China continues to position itself for economic dominance, its currency will take center stage in the global financial arena. There are clear and visible signs the yuan is on the march, but the financial press has seriously underreported its surge. It's an unstoppable trend, and you can profit by taking these critical steps…
- How Google Will Dominate the Future: Today, Money Morning Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson discusses why Google is such an intriguing tech investment with enormous upside. This industry leader has somehow combined Warren Buffett's business genius and Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil's futurist brain… and there's nothing but profit ahead for investors…
- How We'll Play the 2014 Year-End Rally: Stocks are headed higher through year end for many reasons, but one in particular is telling. It's really simple, yet too many people have overlooked it. Indeed, most wouldn't even give it enough thought. And that would be a big mistake. You see, if you understand that one compelling reason, you can pick some winners – and pocket big profits – yourself.