US stocks start week at new highs on deals and earnings
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are breaking records again Tuesday. Energy companies are rising more than the rest of the market. Consumer goods giant Kraft Heinz is falling after it withdrew a $143 billion offer for competition Unilever, but several other food and household goods makers are rising as investors bet Kraft will make an offer for one of those companies instead.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 20,717 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,361. The Nasdaq composite gained 24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,862. All three indexes are at record highs, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have risen for eight of the last nine days. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,408, which put it in line for a record as well.
U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.
LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF: Kraft Heinz and Unilever both slumped after Kraft withdrew a $143 billion offer to buy its food and consumer goods rival. Unilever said the offer was too low and the companies said Sunday that Kraft Heinz was giving up its effort. Kraft owns brands including Oscar Mayer, Jell-O and Velveeta while Unilever sells products such as Hellman’s, Lipton and Knorr. Kraft Heinz gave up $3.74, or 3.9 percent, to $92.91 and Unilever declined $4.14, or 8.5 percent, to $44.39.
LOOKING FOR LOVE: Big packaged food companies have been trying hard to cut costs and find new markets, and analysts and investors think Kraft Heinz is still interested in buying another food or consumer goods company. Oreo maker Mondelez rose $1.88, or 4.4 percent, to $44.38 while cereal makers Kellogg added $1.46, or 2 percent, to $74.36 and General Mills gained $1.59, or 2.7 percent, to $60.82. Household goods maker Colgate-Palmolive picked up $1.18, or 1.6 percent, to $73.16.
CRAVING SOME CHICKEN: Restaurant Brands International, the company that owns the Burger King and Tim Hortons brands, agreed to buy Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8 billion. Shares of Popeyes jumped from about $66 to $70 and then fell back again as reports about the deal swirled last week. Restaurant Brands agreed to pay $79 a share, and Popeyes climbed $12.71, or 19.2 percent, to $78.83. Restaurant Brands stock jumped $3.37, or 6.3 percent, to $57.27.
AMAZON WHO? Wal-Mart jumped $1.89, or 2.7 percent, to $71.26 after the company said its online business surged in the fourth quarter and it reported more business in the U.S. during the holiday season. Wal-Mart’s profit fell as it spent more money on its e-commerce operations and its stores, but investors have been hoping the company’s online sales would take off. It reported better online sales in the third quarter as well, and recently bought web-based retailers Jet.com and Moosejaw to strengthen its sales.
Online rival Amazon continued to set record highs as it rose $9.63, or 1.1 percent, to $854.70.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped $1.03, or 1.9 percent, to $54.43 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 88 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $57.06 a barrel in London.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.45 percent from 2.42 percent.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 113.62 yen from 112.93 yen late Friday. The euro sank to $1.0543 from $1.0607.
BETTER GROWTH: A survey indicated that the economy of the 19-country eurozone is growing at its fastest pace in nearly six years. The gauge of the manufacturing and services sectors for February showed both stronger business activity as well as better hiring. In Japan, a measure of manufacturing activity rose to its highest level since 2014. Both surveys showed inflation pressures growing, a welcome development for markets that have suffered dangerously low inflation or even falling prices in recent years.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX advanced 0.9 percent while the French CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 retreated 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7 percent and the Hang Seng of Hong Kong retreated 0.8 percent. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.9 percent.