The Dow reclaimed the 7,000 level Thursday, driven higher by new economic data and another dose of healthcare M&A. The market was spurred this time by Swiss pharma company Roche agreeing to buy the remaining shares of Genentech ( DNA) for $95 apiece, or $46.8 billion. Gilead Sciences ( GILD) also announced it is acquiring CV Therapeutics ( CVTX) in a $1.4 billion cash deal that will boost Gilead's cardiovascular drug franchise. All this wheeling and dealing in the health care sector sent all three stocks onto TheStreet.com's top ten most searched stocks list.
General Electric ( GE) was also heavily searched. General Electric was a strong performer on the Dow, despite Standard & Poor's having cut its rating. However, the cut was not as severe as expected. America's biggest banks also showed up on stock search. Bank of America's ( BAC) acquisition of Merrill Lynch secured its position as the biggest bank in the country, according to a report issued late Wednesday. BofA now tops the list of U.S. banks and thrifts with $2.49 trillion worth of assets, $310.4 billion more than No. 2 competitor JPMorgan Chase ( JPM). JPMorgan still leads Bank of America in terms of deposits, however, holding over $1 trillion in consumer dollars. Without the Merrill acquisition, BofA would have ranked third in terms of deposits behind JPMorgan and Citigroup ( C). Behind those three banking behemoths came Wells Fargo ( WFC). Sirius XM ( SIRI) made the list after saying it will book $300 million in pre-expense earnings this year. The $300 million earnings before interest depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, target was the only forecast the satellite radio shop would provide in its conference call Thursday. Given the economic uncertainties, Sirius said it would not make any subscriber or sales projections.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer ( PFE) was heavily searched. The company said early Thursday that a late-stage clinical trial has shown its oncology drug Sutent to be effective in slowing the progression of advanced pancreatic cancer. General Motors ( GM) was a popular topic after the company's chief financial officer said the company will not need the $2 billion loan installment for March that it requested from the U.S. government in February. GM borrowed $13.4 billion from the government earlier this year. Last month, it said it would need up to an additional $16.6 billion to keep operating, including $2 billion in March and $2.6 billion in April.