US Stocks Inch Higher; Drug Companies Jump on AbbVie Bid

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US Stocks Inch Higher; Drug Companies Jump on AbbVie Bid

US stocks opened higher spurred by considerable gains in healthcare companies and utilities.

The Nasdaq composite reported gains of 19 points or 0.4% to open the day at 4986. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 39 points or 0.2% to 18 136 while the Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose 3 points or 0.2% to 2102. These reports were as of 9.52 am Eastern.

Pharmacyclics, the manufacturer of cancer drug Imbruvica surged $24.37 or 10.6% $254.76 after it was reported that the biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie was planning a $21 billion takeover.

AbbVie slumped $1.82 or 3% to $58.35n after announcing what will be its biggest takeover deal after walking away from the $55 billion acquisition of Shire last year.

Other notable movers included wholesale giant Costco which gained 3% after beating analyst estimates for its fiscal second quarter earnings. Cincinnati-based grocery chain Kroger also jumped 5% after trumping analysts’ fourth quarter earnings estimates.

The morning’s gains followed two days of losses for all the major US indexes though stocks generally neared record highs.

There were also gains in Europe spurred by the announcement of the ECB that it would commence its latest round of bond-buying stimulus early next week. The latest round is expected to boost economic growth and help return the inflation level to the set target.

“We expect the economic recovery to broaden and strengthen gradually,” European Central Bank President Mario Draghi told a news conference.

Britain’s top share index, the FTSE 100 Index, rose back towards record highs posting a 0.5% growth to inch towards the close of trading at a near all time high of 6,955.85 points.

“I think that a new record of 7,000 points for the FTSE is just around the corner,” Berkeley Futures’ associate director Richard Griffiths told Reuters.

To contact the reporter of the story: Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com