We were looking for another catalyst to push this market higher, and with a fresh wave of earnings -- and some rumbling on Capitol Hill -- we seem to have found that renewed strength and the markets, especially the Dow, pushed toward another milestone.
Sure, Netflix Inc.'s (NFLX - Get Report) blow-out quarter was the talk of Wall Street, but a less sexy group of stocks may have actually been bigger beneficiaries of today's happenings. Health insurance stocks gained as Washington lawmakers inched closer to a bipartisan deal to shore up the Affordable Care Act.
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have reached an agreement on a bipartisan fix to fund a key insurance subsidy program and provide states flexibility around parts of Obamacare. Healthcare stocks, already up after earnings reports from UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH - Get Report) and Johnson & Johnson Inc. (JNJ - Get Report) , inched higher in the wake of the news. Those stocks also included Anthem Inc. (ANTM - Get Report) , Cigna Corp. (CI - Get Report) , Aetna Inc. (AET) and Humana Inc. (HUM - Get Report) .
Meanwhile, much was buzzing in techland besides the FANG stocks, I promise.
Notably, and in a rather odd move, buyout shop Siris Capital Partners agreed to acquire Synchronoss Technologies Inc.'s (SNC) secure data sharing platform Intralinks Holdings Inc. for about $1 billion in a deal that brings to a conclusion an aggressive six-month public acquisition effort by the New York-based, tech-focused private equity firm.
The deal itself isn't strange, but how the firm landed on the carve-out transaction is indeed. In fact, the possibility of a deal first emerged in May when Siris disclosed in an activist securities filing that it had taken a 13% Synchronoss stake and suggested that it was interested in buying the cloud computing company. By October, the mobile information and data services company told Siris Capital that it could take a walk after the buyout shop said it would end discussions unless it could engage in exclusive negotiations. Between then and now, they somehow came to terms on Intralinks. Makes us think that maybe that is what Siris wanted all along. Yet it's odd -- if not unheard of -- for a PE firm to go at this in this fashion.
As you should already know it's the week of the 30th anniversary of Black Monday and we are out with another installment in the package. Today we sat down with New York Times contributor and best-selling author Diana Henriques, who literally wrote the book on Black Monday. According to Henriques, the current stock market, despite reaching new records seemingly everyday, could actually be setting up to look a lot like the markets did in 1987.
Photo of the day: In the booth with Howard, "Dandy Don" and Frank
It may be a while before Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS - Get Report) ESPN can return Monday Night Football to its glory days back when Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford (pictured above, left to right) were running the show. This week ESPN recorded a 6.1 rating on Monday Night Football, the lowest ranking for a football game this season. ESPN and Disney, also the parent of ABC, have the rights to MNF through 2021 via a $15.1 billion deal with the league that was signed in 2011. At the time of the deal, it seemed like the best thing for ESPN -- the NFL was riding high and headed higher, live sports seemed to be the only content impenetrable by Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Get Report) and ESPN, too, was riding high. Well, things have changed. The NFL isn't winning many new fans these days and television has changed more rapidly than most had anticipated. In case you are doubting that, take a look at the performance of some of the largest media stocks today.
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