After Market: Modest Gains Stretch S&P 500 Winning Streak

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The S&P 500 is now riding its longest winning streak in six months. Stocks posted modest gains, helped by generally upbeat earnings and some merger news.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 40 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 7, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 26 points. The S&P and Nasdaq extended their winning streaks to five sessions.

Pfizer (PFE) gained more than 2 percent on a British newspaper report that it's interested in buying rival drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN) in a deal that could be worth more than $100 billion. AstraZeneca jumped 9 percent.

That helped lift others in drug sector: Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) rose 2 percent and Merck (MRK) rose more than 1 percent.

Also on the merger front, Newmont Mining (NEM) and Barrick Gold (ABX) have run into problems on the deal they've been working on. That sent Newmont 6 percent higher, but Barrick fell 4 percent, and investors chipped away at other mining stock too. Allied Nevada Gold (ANV) fell 4 percent. Yamana (AUY) and Hecla Mining (HL) both lost about 2 percent.

On the earnings front, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) jumped 12 percent. It posted a surprise profit late Thursday.

Also beating the Street:
  • Halliburton (HAL) rose more than 3 percent. Rival oilfield services company Baker Hughes (BHI) also gained 3 percent.
  • Hasbro (HAL) added 2 percent.
  • SunTrust (STI) gained 1.5 percent.
Elsewhere, Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) was the day's big winner, jumping 39 percent. It received positive guidance from the Food and Drug Administration to file for approval of its drug to treat muscular dystrophy.

Micron Technology (MU) rose 6 percent. The stock has more than doubled over the past year, and Drexel Hamilton thinks it will double again.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) gained 3 percent on reports that its set to make deliveries to China. Ford Motor (F) was little changed following reports that Alan Mulally is about to step down as CEO and be replaced by COO Mark Fields.

Finally, Moneygram (MGI) tumbled 13.5 percent after Walmart Stores (WMT) said last week it would enter the money transfer business.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency release its home price index for February at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The National Association of Realtors reports existing home sales for March at 10 a.m.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements: -Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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