Merger Frenzy Lifts Market

Stocks are on the rise amid a spate of deals to start the week.
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Updated from 4:05 p.m. EST

U.S. markets started the week on a high note Monday as traders used a spurt in dealmaking to put the sluggishness of recent sessions behind them.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

advanced 119.51 points, or 1%, to 12,105.55, and the

S&P 500

was up 15.48 points, or 1.1%, to 1379.78. The

Nasdaq Composite

gained 35.16 points, or 1.5%, to 2365.95.

Most sectors were in the green, led by a 4.2% gain in the Dow Jones U.S. Trucking index. The Amex Airline index was up 2.8%, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector index was higher by 1.8%. Gold and silver indices sat out the rally and declined about 1.2%.

As a new week unfolded, a spate of mergers brought in buyers. Among the tie-ups,

Four Seasons

(FS)

received a $3 billion takeover offer from a group that includes controlling shareholder Isadore Sharp,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

founder Bill Gates and Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed.

Four Seasons was up 29.2% to $82.50, easily setting a 52-week high.

Another acquisition will see

Abbott Labs

(ABT) - Get Report

buy

Kos Pharmaceuticals

(KOSP)

for $78 a share in a $3.7 billion deal.

Kos surged 53.8% to $77.06, but Abbott ticked down 0.4% to $47.47.

Wall Street struggled last week amid a string of economic data that traders found unfriendly for stocks. On Friday, the Dow closed down 32.5 points to 11,986.04 -- its sixth straight decline and its first time ending below 12,000 since Oct. 18. For the week, the Dow lost 104 points, the S&P 500 shed 13 points, and the Nasdaq gave back 20 points. On a percentage basis, each index surrendered 0.9%.

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But with mergers dominating the headlines, investors decided it was a good day to buy.

OSI Restaurants

(OSI)

, the owner of Outback Steakhouse, will be acquired by an investor group made up of its founders, Bain Capital Partners and others for $40 a share, and

Swift Transportation

(SWFT)

got a $29-a-share bid from former chairman Jerry Moyes, the company's largest shareholder.

OSI climbed 22.6% to $39.75.

Elsewhere, buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts recently approached

Vivendi

about possibly acquiring the French media company, but talks have now ended.

Outside of the M&A arena, earnings, continued coming in, although the pace has slowed considerably.

XM Satellite Radio

(XMSR)

and

Marvel Enterprises

(MVL)

beat analysts' estimates, while

Northeast Utilities

(NU)

affirmed its expectations.

XM was up 15.6%, and Marvel gained 5.8%.

Treasury prices edged higher, with the 10-year note rising 3/32 in price to yield 4.70%. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, and December crude futures rose 88 cents to $60.02 a barrel.

Overseas, stocks were higher across Europe. Asia was mixed. Equities were weak in Japan and Korea but stronger in Hong Kong and mainland China.