The stock markets in the United States gained as investors evaluate the timing of interest rate hikes following the release of economic data that missed expectations. The markets also benefited amid corporate deals.

Sign up for our free newsletter

The country’s overall economic data have been short of expectations by the most in six years as indicated by the Bloomberg U.S. Economic Surprise index, measures whether data beat or missed estimates. The index declined to the lowest level since the economic crisis in 2009.

Today, Salix Pharmaceuticals accepted Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ increased offer while Life Time Fitness agreed to be acquired by Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital

“You’ve seen weaker reports and a drop in bond yields. People are thinking it’s not a given that the Fed is going to move toward raising rates any time soon,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist National Securities in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.

[drizzle]

The Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee (FOMC) is expected to remove the term “patient” in the minutes of its meeting this week as it moves closer to raise interest rates.

The recent economic data dampen speculations regarding the central banks potential interest rate hikes. The manufacturing industry in the country contracted on February, the third consecutive month of decline, which signals a slowdown in economic growth.

On the other hand, the confidence of U.S. home builders dropped unexpectedly dropped this month.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,977.42 (+1.29%)
  • S&P 500- 2,081.19 (+1.35%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,929.51 (+1.19%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,239.78 (+0.62%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,706.75 (+1.38%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,804.08 (+0.94%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 12,167.72 (+2.24%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,246.06 (-0.04%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,949.55 (+0.53%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,705.67 (+2.43%)

Stocks in Focus

Valeant Pharmaceuticals increased its offer to Salix Pharmaceuticals from $158 per share to $173 per share in cash or a total enterprise value of approximately $15.8 billion.

Valeant Chairman and CEO Michael Pearson said, “We continue to be very excited about the combination of our two companies and we are committed to getting this deal done.”

Valeant’s stock climbed 2.49% to $202.34 per share while Salix gained almost 2% to $172.75 per share today.

Life Time Fitness agreed to be purchased by Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital for $72.10 per share or more than $2.8 billion. The company will become a private entity. The amount of the transaction is worth more than $4 billion including its debt. The stock price of Life Time Fitness increased 5% to $70.68 per share.

The shares of Edwards Lifesciences surged almost 10% to $148.64 per share after revealing that the 30-day results for its SAPIEN 3 transcatheter aortic valve demonstrated the lowest death and stroke rates compared with its older devices. The company expects to receive approval for SAPIEN 3 in the United States early next year.

[/drizzle]

Tags: