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S&P 500 Futures Rally on Major Mergers and Acquisitions
October, 25th 2016

US stocks traded higher Monday, boosted by a wave of corporate mergers that included AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner for $85.4 billion.

Wall Street rallied behind news that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had agreed to purchase Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) for $85.4 billion in cash and stocks. However, gains were limited as investors remained uncertain about whether the deal will be approved by regulators.

Meanwhile, aerospace company Rockwell Collins Inc. (NYSE: COL) agreed to purchase B/E Aerospace Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAV) for $6.4 million. Broker TD Ameritrade Holding Corp (NASDAQ: AMTD) and the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSE: TD) also confirmed plans to buy privately held brokerage Scottrade Financial Services for $4 billion.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were trading firmly higher in pre-market activity. Stocks on Wall Street opened in positive territory, with the S&P 500 climbing to a session high of 2,154.79. It would later close at 2,151.33, gaining 10.17 points, or 0.5%.

The technology sector was the biggest contributor to the gains, rising 1.2%. Within technology, software and internet services were the strongest performers.

Consumer staples and consumer discretionary rose 0.7% apiece. Financials added 0.4% after booking solid earnings in previous weeks. Industrials, materials and utilities also finished higher.

Telecommunications services was the biggest laggard, falling 0.8%. Tumbling oil prices also weighed on energy stocks, which fell 0.2% as a sector.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, which has heavy exposure to technology shares, rose 52.43 points, or 1%, to 5,309.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 77.32 points, or 0.4%, to 18,223.03.

In economic data, US manufacturing activity accelerated to a 12-month high in October, offering further evidence of a strengthening domestic economy. The Markit flash US manufacturing PMI improved to 53.2 in October from 51.5 the previous month. Anything above 50 signals economic expansion.

Markit, a private research group, said output and new orders rose at the fastest pace in a year, boosting optimism that demand will improve after the presidential election next month.

Markit will release its flash services and composite PMIs on Wednesday, giving investors a fuller view of the US economy at the start of the fourth quarter.

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