U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday, following two weeks of declines on economic worries, as further signs of a revival in M&A activity emerged with Hewlett-Packard $1.6 billion counterbid for 3PAR. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 56 points to 10,270 with 26 of its 30 components advancing. The S&P 500 index rose 7 points to 1,078, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 16 points to 2,196. 3PAR is trading up 39% thanks to HP's bid. HP is up 3% as well. There have been 10 deals announced in the last several weeks. That's a good sign. The techs in general look good this morning. Baidu.com is lower by 2% on a downgrade. Cisco and F5 Networks are modestly lower on cautious analyst comments. Research in Motion opened higher on an upgrade, but then traded lower. The financials opened modestly higher. Bank of America is modestly higher on an upgrade. Allstate is modestly lower on a downgrade. In the retail space, Sanderson Farms is now modestly higher after opening lower due to lower than expected earnings. Lowes is higher on an upgrade. J Crew is lower even though the stock did receive positive analyst comments. After the first hour the averages rapidly gave up most of their gains. The commodities are holding firm. Potash is up 2% on speculation of a third party white knight coming to fend off BHP's offer. Through the morning the major averages moved into the red. Here we go again. In the afternoon the Dow was able to nudge back into the green only to give up those gains in the last hour. The Dow Industrials finished down 39 points to end at 10,174.41, weighed down by a 2% drop in shares of Hewlett-Packard. The S&P 500 index dropped 4 points to end at 1,067, weighed down by its industrials and materials sectors. Both the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 are down for the third consecutive session and have fallen over the past two weeks. The Nasdaq Composite lost 20 points to end at 2,159.
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