Stocks were higher this morning ahead of this week’s highly anticipated Fed policy meeting.
Industrial production was up 0.1% in February from the previous month. The reading was well below the 0.3% increase expected by economists. January’s data was revised downward to a 0.3% decline from an initially reported 0.2% gain. Capacity utilization fell to 78.9% from 79.91%.
The Empire State survey, which measures the strength of the New York manufacturing sector, fell to 6.9 in March from 7.8 in the previous month. Economists had expected an expansion to 8.5.
At midday the Dow and S&P 500 were each up 1.1% while the Nasdaq was 1% higher.
Stocks on the Move
In response to Endo’s (ENDP) last-minute bid, Valeant (VRX) has raised its all-cash offer for Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) to $ 173 per share from its previous offer of $ 158. The raised offer adds nearly an additional $ 1.3 billion, for a total enterprise value of approximately $ 15.8 billion. Valeant’s breakup fee will increase by $ 100 million under the new offer to nearly $ 450 million, and Endo has announced that it will withdraw its stock-and-cash offer for Salix. Valeant and Endo shares were each up over 2% on the news.
European markets were higher today. In late trading, the FTSE 100, Paris CAC and Germany’s DAX were up 0.9%, 1.1% and 2.4% respectively.
Asian shares moved mostly higher after signs that the Chinese government was planning to embark on further fiscal stimulus. The Shanghai Composite soared 2.3%, the Hang Seng was up 0.5% while the Nikkei 225 was flat on the day.