Dealmakers just couldn't make it through the weekend. A touch of Merger Monday has seemingly squeaked out on an otherwise run-of-the-mill Friday here on Wall Street: General Mills Inc. (GIS) proved it's starting to think outside the (cereal) box, announcing an $8 billion deal for organic pet foods maker Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. (BUFF) , while rumors swirled that Nordstrom Inc's (JWN) founding family group is finalizing an offer to take the U.S. department store operator private.
The potential deal for Nordstrom, yet another retailer plagued by the Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) effect, comes just a few weeks after TheStreet's Jim Cramer added the stock to his Action Alerts Plus charitable trust portfolio, with the team reasoning Nordstrom's earnings power was being undervalued amidst a broader market selloff.
As for General Mills, we've got a mixed newsroom, as we're not too sure whether the deal is a dicey gamble with a lofty valuation or a stroke of genius from a typically plain-as-Betty Crocker vanilla frosting dealmaker in General Mills. We've put together the arguments for both at TheStreet.com, but we'll let you make the final call.
Outside of the deal universe, the markets were headed back to where they were before the February correction, with the Dow ending Friday up almost 350 points, the S&P climbing 43 points and the Nasdaq gaining 147 points.
On the week, the Dow rose 0.36%, the S&P 500 gained 0.55% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.35%. Thursday'scomments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who told CNBC that the markets might be getting ahead of themselves in assuming four rate hikes this year, may have had something to do with Friday's strong rally. Friday's easing of Treasury yields, which took benchmark 10-year notes to around 2.87%, didn't hurt, either.
Friday's closing bell doesn't end the fun this week, however, as the Street eagerly anticipates Warren Buffett's annual letter, expected to arrive Saturday. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) (BRK.B) shareholders will look forward to hearing Buffett detail his plans to participate in the U.S. health care system as well as the results for his sprawling conglomerate. In the past, Buffett, 87, has used humor in his much anticipated, and often quite lengthy, letter to address topics ranging from excesses on Wall Street to dysfunction in Washington.
On both those topics, we're sure the Oracle of Omaha has plenty of knee-slapping material to work from.