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Stocks Gain as Traders Shrug at Possible Fed Pullback

Stocks in this article: ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC BAC C SNE DF EW

Sony (SNE ) jumped 9.9% to $20.76 after the electronics company said its entertainment businesses aren't for sale despite a proposal from activist hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb of Third Point that the Tokyo-based company spin-off its entertainment unit.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said early Tuesday that U.S. import prices fell 0.5% in April, as expected by economists, following a 0.2% decrease in March. Lower prices for both fuel and non-fuel imports contributed to the declines each month. Prices for U.S. exports decreased by a more-than-expected 0.7% in April after a 0.5% decline in March. Economists were expecting a fall of 0.5%.

"U.S stocks do not want to hear too much good news," Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a global brokerage company based in New York, said in an investor note. "A big jobs number? Please, no ... That would mean the Federal Reserve might reduce its liquidity measures and that would mean higher interest rates and less money moving into stocks."

Dean Foods (DF ) was a big mover as it rose 3.8% to $19.88 after Montgomery Scott analysts raised their view on the stock to "buy" from "neutral," writing that its move to spin off White Wave will help the company sharpen its focus and realize more financial flexibility.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW ) gained 6.3% to $71.57 after the biggest maker of aortic heart valves said that Chief Financial Officer Thomas Abate plans to retire later this year and that its board had approved a new program to acquire up to an additional $750 million of the company's outstanding common shares. The company also said that Chairman and CEO Michael Mussallem will make a $5 million cash purchase of newly issued shares of Edwards common stock.

The Mannheim-based ZEW Center for European Economic Research reported Tuesday that its index on German investor sentiment rose to 36.4 in May from 36.3 in April, missing the average economist forecast of 38.3, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Other reports weighing on sentiment Tuesday morning were Chinese media reports suggesting that the country is poised to reduce its official growth target to 7% from 7.5%.

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