Business

Merger news helps stocks trim week’s losses

NEW YORK – A flurry of corporate deals and a positive outlook for the technology industry gave the stock market a lift Friday.

Intel jumped after the company said sales of business computers have been stronger than expected, and raised its revenue forecast. Technology stocks rose on the news, which was also a positive sign for investors betting that higher investment from businesses will help drive the economy this year.

Still, major indexes had their first weekly losses in a month. A combination of so-so economic news and concerns about the impact of higher oil prices weighed on stocks earlier in the week.

“The economy is still on a decent trend, but it’s choppy and I think we can expect the same for the market,” said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer at First American Trust.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 6.05 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,936.16. The index ended the week down 0.7 percent after closing at an all-time high of 1,951.27 on Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,775.74. The Nasdaq composite climbed 13.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,310.65.

A spurt of merger news lifted stocks.

Gambling equipment maker International Game Technology was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. It jumped $1.51, or 10.5 percent, to $15.86 after Reuters reported that a number of companies considered bidding for it.

Clothes retailer Express jumped $2.90, or 21 percent, to $16.45 after it said it had been approached about a takeover by Sycamore Partners, a New York-based private equity company. Sycamore already owns 9.9 percent of Express’ stock.

“It seems like you have a deal almost every day,” said John Fox, director of research at Fenimore Asset Management.

While the number of acquisitions completed this year is roughly the same as it was at this point last year, the value has surged. U.S. companies have closed deals worth $714 billion, up 47 percent from $485 billion over the same period last year, according to Dealogic.



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