NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Deals, deals, and more deals. M&A was on the agenda Monday with acquisitions cemented - and others falling apart - at the forefront of investors' minds. Wheelings and dealings from top pharmaceutical giants and energy companies distracted Wall Street from worrying news Japan had fallen into recession in its third quarter.
Among the corporate deals being forged on Monday, Actavis (ACT) made its $219-a-share bid for Botox manufacturer Allergan (AGN) public, triggering a 1.8% jump in Actavis and 5.2% increase in Allergan. The deal put a stop to Valeant Pharmaceuticals' (VRX) and activist investor Bill Ackman's hostile bid for Allergan.
Meanwhile, Valeant salved its rejection (and saved billions) by acquiring the U.S.-based diagnostics arm of French pharmaceutical company Nicox S.A. for $20 million. Shares added nearly 2%.
In the energy sector, an industry struck hard by falling crude prices, oilfield services provider Baker Hughes (BHI) jumped ahead of the curve after Halliburton (HAL) agreed to purchase it for $34.6 billion. Baker Hughes surged 9%, the best-performing stock on the S&P 500.
"Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes could be a harbinger of a trend towards further consolidation in the energy sector, particularly if oil prices fall further and stay lower for longer," Oppenheimer's John Stoltzfus wrote in a report.
But it wasn't a honeymoon for all potential partnerships. DreamWorks (DWA) tanked after talks to be acquired by Hasbro (HAS) fell through. The toymaker's shares popped 4%. Investors had been wary an estimated $30-a-share deal was too expensive for the animation studio.
However, gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were on a tight leash with Japanese contraction the latest development to trigger nervous investors' fears of a global slowdown. Japan's third-quarter GDP fell 1.6% after a 7.1% dive the previous quarter. Economists had expected growth as high as 2.1%.
Japan's Nikkei tanked nearly 3% following a record run of seven-year highs after the Bank of Japan announced new stimulus measures in October. Hong Kong's Hang Seng and China's Shanghai Composite also tumbled.
Add Japan to the list of other troubled regions on global markets. The eurozone, long the poster child of global slowdown concerns, had growth forecasts slashed by the European Commission earlier this month on continued deflation concerns and unemployment woes.
Though nowhere near as dire as Japan, data from the U.S. on Monday wasn't as sunny as expected, either. Industrial production fell unexpectedly in October, its second fall in three months, according to Federal Reserve data. A 0.2% increase was expected. The Empire State manufacturing index, a survey of New York State manufacturers, recovered from a six-month low in October, recording a reading of 10.16 in November, though less than a forecast reading of 11.
The Dow and S&P 500 edged 0.07% higher. Benchmark indices have made minor gains and losses since the beginning of last week as markets calm down after weeks of volatile run-ups in share prices.
"U.S. equities have gone quiet, quickly," MKM Partners' derivatives strategist Jim Stugger wrote in a note. "Though 31 SPX constituents reporting earnings through next Friday may keep things interesting, the impending holiday-shortened Thanksgiving week means volatility is likely to remain low into December."
The Nasdaq was performing far worse than other benchmark indices, down 0.37%, dragged on by Amazon (AMZN) shares and a selloff among Internet stocks. Amazon shares were down 1.5%, a correction after the stock rallied on news the company had resolved a months-long dispute with French book publisher Hachette.
Social media and enterprise software-as-a-service companies such as LinkedIn (LNKD) , Jive (JIVE) , and Salesforce (CRM) were stumbling after a Financial Times report suggested Facebook (FB) will launch a professional networking site rivaling the other company's services. After an earlier rally, shares of Facebook were down 1%.
Earnings were having less of an impact on markets on Monday as the season dwindled to a close. So far, 92% of S&P 500 companies have reported their most recent quarter with around 74% beating estimates. Several retailers, typically the tail-end of the reporting season, are still to report including Home Depot (HD) on Tuesday and Williams Sonoma (WSM) Wednesday.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.