The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 65 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 7, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) jumped 40 points. The Dow has five gains in a row, while the S&P and Nasdaq extended their winning streaks to six sessions.
The European health care firm Novartis (NVS) was at the center of a series of big deals. It bought GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) cancer drug business for $14.5 billion, then sold its animal health unit to Eli Lilly (LLY) for about $5.5 billion. Let's check all three stocks -- Novartis gained more than 1 percent, Glaxo rose 4 percent, and Lilly fell 1 percent.
Meanwhile, Allergan (AGN), the maker of Botox, jumped 15 percent after receiving an unsolicited takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) and activist investor Bill Ackman. Valeant rose 7 percent.
Speaking of Botox, there's a small company developing a new treatment for frown lines. Revance Therapeutics (RVNC) surged 25 percent on positive test results for the product. Biotech also stocks rallied, with a closely watched index gaining more than 3 percent.
On the earnings front, Cable-giant Comcast (CMCSA) gained 2 percent after topping expectations.
Also beating the Street:
- Netflix (NFLX) rose 7 percent. Its subscriber base also jumped.
- Harley-Davidson (HOG), gained 6 percent.
- United Technologies (UTX) added less than 1 percent.
Elsewhere, investors were buying up retail stocks. Dillard's (DDS) gained 5 percent, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) added 3.5 percent, Quiksilver (ZQK) rose 4 percent, and Conn's (CONN) jumped 7.5 percent on word that investor David Einhorn bought a big stake.
But Einhorn, who runs Greenlight Capital, also issued a warning, telling his investors that we're in the midst of another tech bubble. He says his firm is now betting against some high-flying momentum stocks.
What to Watch Wednesday:
- The Commerce Department releases new home sales for March at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
- Apple (AAPL)
- Boeing (BA)
- Brinker International (EAT)
- Delta Air Lines (DAL)
- Facebook (FB)
- Procter & Gamble (PG)
- Reynolds American (RAI)
- Safeway (SWY)