Stocks edge higher as investors assess deal news

Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories gain

  • Wall-Street-689

    The screen of the handheld device of trader Sal Suarino is reflected in his glasses, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. U.S. stocks drifted between small gains and losses in early trading Monday in the wake of news on a possible merger between AT&T and DirecTV. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)


  • NEW YORK — Stocks are edging higher in midday trading as investors consider the latest news on corporate mergers.

    Abbott Laboratories rose 2 percent after financial analysts cheered the medical device maker’s proposed acquisition of CFR Pharmaceuticals for nearly $3 billion.

    Pfizer rose 1 percent after AstraZeneca’s board rejected Pfizer’s latest takeover offer. AstraZeneca sank 10 percent.

    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,516 in midday trading today.

    The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,883 and the Nasdaq composite rose 32 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,123.

    AT&T fell 1 percent after the company said it plans to buy satellite TV provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion. The proposal could face tough regulatory scrutiny. DirecTV also fell 1 percent.