Stocks in New York flirted with the flat-line all day Monday after a mega merger announcement between cholesterol-drug teammates Merck ( MRK) and Schering Plough ( SGP) failed to spark the markets, but it did push both companies onto TheStreet.com's top ten most searched stocks list.
Merck was one of the weakest Dow components, after it proposed a $41 billion cash-and-stock deal, offering Schering Plough shareholders 0.5767 of a Merck share and $10.50 in cash for each of their shares. Schering's have surged almost 20% higher. Next on stock search, a few stem-cell stocks were highly searched on Monday as President Obama was set to sign an executive order that would reverse restrictions on stem cell research. Geron ( GERN) and StemCells ( STEM) surged over 20% and 50%, respectively. Drug mergers dominated the news, but the banking sector was not forgotten as Capital One ( COF) became the latest bank to cut its dividend. The company said that scaling back to 5 cents a share from 37.5 cents will preserve more than $500 million in capital annually. Other banks heavily searched on Monday included Wells Fargo ( WFC) which cut its dividend on Friday, as well as JP Morgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC). Speaking of Wells Fargo, the bank is a holding of another most searched stock Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK-A). Warren Buffett's lengthy appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box program drove up interest in his holding company, lifting it onto the list. Finally, a merger gone sour is back in the headlines sending both companies back on the most searched stocks list. Over the weekend, Dow Chemical ( DOW) and Rohm & Haas ( ROH) said that they have been negotiating the terms of the $15 billion merger between the two firms. Join Jim Cramer, Doug Kass, Helene Meisler and other RealMoney pros at TheStreet.com Investment Conference on "Best Ideas to Make Real Money." Save the date: Saturday, May 2! More details here.