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Market Update

Three Deals Dominate on Merger Monday, Nasdaq in 8-Day Rally

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 1:43 PM ET February 23 2015

1:40 PM New York – U.S. market indexes traded sideways on Merger Monday and at least four deals on both sides of Atlantic dominated headlines. Tech stocks dominated Nasdaq index was nearly unchanged after a 8-day rally that brought the index within 2% of its all-time high.

U.S. stocks eased and investors kept focus on the latest batch of deals and earnings.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions Ltd agreed to be acquired by New Residential Investment Corp for $1.3 billion. Valeant Pharmaceuticals soared 10% after the company announced a $10 billion deal to buy Salix Pharma.

Corporate earnings outside the oil complex has met or exceeded companies of the 1,000 companies tracked by the research team of 123jump.com.

However, industry group said home sales declined more than expected and tighter supply lifted the average price of the home.

Seasonally adjusted annual rate for existing home sales in January fell 4.9% to 4.82 million, lowest since last April at 4.75 million from upwardly-revised 5.07 million in December but rose from 3.2% a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

On Wall Street trading, Tollbooth Strategy Index edged down 0.01% or 1.29 to 10,644.38.

S&P 500 index fell 2.38 or 0.1% to 2,107.95 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 0.40 or 0.01% to 4,955.39.

Crude oil fell $1.35 a barrel to $48.46 and gold fell $5.90 to $1,199 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY) gained 31 cents to $60.83 after the bio-pharmaceutical products maker plans to acquire privately held drug-maker Flexus Biosciences Inc for up to $1.25 billion.

Globe Specialty Metals Inc (GSM) soared 10.4% or $1.60 to $16.83 after the silicon metal and silicon-based alloy producer and Spain-based Grupo FerroAtlántica SA agree to merge through all-stock to form a company with a combined enterprise value of $3.1 billion.

Grupo Villar Mir the parent of FerroAtlantica will own 57% of the new company and GSM shareholders will own the rest of the 43% stake.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth-quarter of 2015.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) surged 13.9% or $24.20 to $197.36 after the Canada-based specialty pharmaceutical company agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drug maker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd in an all-cash deal valued of about $10.1 billion.

Under the terms, shareholders of Salix will get $158 per share and according to the company statement; the deal carries an enterprise value of about $14.5 billion.

European Markets

European markets struggled and investors focused on the latest merger deals and corporate earnings.

In London trading, FTSE 100 index fell 0.3% or 18.66 to 6,896.54 and in Frankfurt the DAX index gained 0.6% or 67.73 to 11,118.37.

In Paris, CAC 40 index increased 0.5% or 25.34 to 4,856.24.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc