Market Wrap: Stocks Jump With Energy; Berkshire Deal a Boost

Dow Drops Sharply As Oil Drops Below $50 A Barrel
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks climbed Monday, giving the S&P 500 its biggest gain since May as indexes bounced back sharply from last week's losses, buoyed by gains in commodity-related shares and optimism over Warren Buffett's latest deal.

Copper rebounded from six-year lows while oil prices also rallied, helping push the S&P 500 energy index up 3.1 percent and the materials index up 2.5 percent.

Disappointing economic data in China boosted hopes for additional stimulus from Beijing, lifting Chinese stocks. Adding to investor optimism, Greece and international creditors could wrap up a multibillion-euro bailout accord by Tuesday.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-We've had a whole lot of M&A throughout the year, and that's positive because it means businesses are upbeat on the prospects for the economy.%Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said it would buy Precision Castparts in a deal valuing the company at $32.3 billion. Precision Castparts (PCP) shares jumped as much as 19.1 percent to $230.92, while Berkshire Class B shares (BRK-B) slipped 0.1 percent to $143.42.

"We've had a whole lot of M&A throughout the year, and that's positive because it means businesses are upbeat on the prospects for the economy," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 241.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to 17,615.17, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) gained 26.61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,104.18 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 58.25 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,101.80.

The S&P 500 registered its biggest daily percentage gain since May 8.

Rate Hike Expected

On Friday, the Dow closed down for the seventh straight day after solid July jobs data pried the door open a little wider for a rate hike in September.

With U.S. interest rates near zero for nearly a decade, debt has been cheap. But with the Federal Reserve widely expected to hike rates later this year, merger and acquisition activity has increased.

July was the seventh-strongest month for global deal activity since 1980. Through July, cross-border M&A activity totaled $913.5 billion, up 23 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI) data.

In other deal news, ammonia-maker CVR Partners' deal to buy Rentech Nitrogen Partners for about $533 million sent Rentech (RTK) soaring 28.6 percent to $13.25. CVR (UAN) shares were down 2.9 percent at $10.38.

Twitter (TWTR) shares jumped 9.1 percent to $29.50 after CEO Jack Dorsey joined other insiders in buying more shares, while the company also clinched a multiyear partnership with the National Football League.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,329 to 734, for a 3.17-to-1 ratio on the upside. On the Nasdaq, 1,937 issues rose and 856 fell for a 2.26-to-1 ratio favoring advancers. The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 35 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 58 new highs and 85 new lows.

-Tanya Agrawal contributed reporting from Bangalore.

What to watch Tuesday:
  • The Labor Department releases second-quarter productivity data at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for June at 10 a.m.
Earnings Calendar
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
  • Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC)
  • Symantec (SYMC)
  • Towers Watson (TW)
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