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MBIA, Bank of America Settlement Brings Life to Quiet Market

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- MBIA (MBI) settled a five-year bout with Bank of America (BAC) that overshadowed a quiet day of market action on Monday.

The S&P 500 added 0.19% to 1,617.50 after the index surged past 1,600 for the first time Friday as job growth in April eased concern that the world's largest economy was unable to translate corporate profits into lower unemployment.

"We continue to find it encouraging that after some disappointing news in April, including March's employment report, the market only hesitated for a few deep breaths and is up 3%, again, exhibiting the resilience which has characterized this market," Laszlo Birinyi, founder of Connecticut-based research firm Birinyi Associates and the firm's director of research, Jeffrey Yale Rubin, wrote in a note.

Shares of MBIA popped 45.4% to $14.29 after the company announced, along with Bank of America, that the two parties had reached a settlement that would pay MBIA about $1.6 billion in cash. Bank of America was jumping 5.2% to $12.88 a share.

"As part of the settlement, Bank of America will pay MBIA approximately $1.6 billion in cash and remit to MBIA all of the outstanding MBIA 5.7% Senior Notes due 2034 that Bank of America acquired through a tender offer in December 2012," Bank of America said in a statement.

The top gaining stock on the S&P was Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), which climbed 5.5% to $21.01 after FBR Capital analyst Mitesh Thakkar raised his view on the mining stock to outperform from market perform with a price target of $28 after meetings with management left him more confident about Cliffs' ability to endure soft iron ore prices.

Humana (HUM) was another big gainer, up 2.1% to $75.49, while UnitedHealth (UNH) rose 2.2% to $60.20. JPMorgan Chase analyst Justin Lake boosted Humana to "overweight" from "neutral" and raised his price target on the stock to $91, as well as reinstated coverage of UnitedHealth with an "overweight" recommendation and $70 price target.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.03% to 14,968.89 while the Nasdaq rose 0.42% to 3,392.97.

Tyson Foods (TSN) stumbled 3.3% to $24.10 after the meat processing company posted a sharp decline in earnings in the second quarter, hit by consumers replacing beef with chicken products as they tightened spending.

The U.S. economic calendar is empty Monday in a week relatively quiet on economic releases.

Meanwhile, investors will be watching Wednesday to Friday with interest as a number of Fed officials will be speaking, including Jeremy Stein, Jeffrey Lacker and Esther George.

Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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