Stock market rises slightly in morning trading

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market nudged higher Monday morning after a handful of U.S. companies announced acquisitions. Family Dollar's stock jumped following news that investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the company.

KEEPING SCORE: A half hour after the market opened, Standard & Poor's 500 index crept up two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,951.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,944, while the Nasdaq composite index rose eight points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,329.

On Friday, the S&P 500 index notched another record high, its eighth in 10 trading days. The index notched its third straight week of solid gains.

TYSON WINS: Tyson Foods emerged as the winner in a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, beating an offer by Pilgrim's Pride for the meat-processing company. Tyson raised its offer to $63 a share, beating Pilgrim's Pride's offer of $55 a share. Hillshire Brands jumped $2.95, or 5 percent, to $61.87, while Tyson Foods slipped $1.69, or 4.2 percent, to $38.32.

MERGER MONDAY: Merck announced a deal to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals for $3.85 billion. Merck & Co. said Indenix has built a promising array of treatments for hepatitis C. Indenix soared $16.97, or 234 percent, to $24.20, while Merck eased 15 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $57.70.

ICAHN: In a regulatory filing on Friday, Carl Icahn said he and his affiliates have picked up a 9 percent stake in Family Dollar, a discount store, and plan to look for changes to boost the company's value. Family Dollar's stock jumped $7, or 12 percent, to $67.52.

APPLE SPLITS: Apple's stock fell 37 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $9185. That's after closing at of $645.57 on Friday. What happened? The difference reflects Apple's 7-for-1 stock split. Every Apple stockholder received six additional shares for every share they owned. The move doesn't affect Apple's market value.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury inched up to 2.60 percent from 2.59 percent late Friday. Yields rise when bond prices fall. The price of oil rose 87 cents to $103.53 a barrel.

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