Merger news reverse economic gloom to save stocks from decline

Gloomy economic pronouncements today from the World Bank and Warren Buffett apparently shook investors, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average down about 80 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 6,547. Not even a pair of big mergers could save stocks. In fact, Merck (MRK) was the biggest loser among the 30 components of the Dow, falling 7.7 percent after announcing a $41 billion deal to take over Schering Plough (SGP).

A few companies managed to reverse recent losing streaks, even on a bad day for the broader market. General Electric (GE) climbed 5 percent, General Motors (GM) rose 16 percent and Bank of America (BAC) jumped 19 percent. All three have seen sharp declines this year on concerns over their financial health.

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