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Stocks move higher on earnings, acquisition news

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  • NationalMore>>

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    Seattle police: Homeless ticketed most for pot

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:09 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:09:59 GMT
    An analysis of the first six months of Seattle police enforcement under new marijuana laws finds homeless people and African American males are more likely to be ticketed for public pot use than anyone else.
    An analysis of the first six months of Seattle police enforcement under new marijuana laws finds homeless people and African-American males are more likely to be ticketed for public pot use than anyone else.
  • Sketch of suspect in peacock killing released

    Sketch of suspect in peacock killing released

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:57:10 GMT
    Officials have released a sketch of a man suspected of shooting and killing a peacock from his Mercedes-Benz earlier this month in Southern California.
    Officials have released a sketch of a man suspected of shooting and killing a peacock from his Mercedes-Benz earlier this month in Southern California.
  • Montana US senator's thesis appears to plagiarize

    Montana US senator's thesis appears to plagiarize

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:57:03 GMT
    Montana Sen. John Walsh's thesis written for the U.S. Army War College contains unattributed passages that appear to be taken word-for-word from previously published papers.
    Montana Sen. John Walsh's thesis written to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College contains unattributed passages taken word-for-word from previously published papers.
By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer

Stocks shook off last week's doldrums and finished sharply higher Monday, driven by a round of corporate deal news and strong earnings from Citigroup.

Investors cheered AECOM Technology's $4 billion acquisition of engineering and construction services company URS Corp., sending URS' stock up 11.6 percent and AECOM 8.6 percent.

Citigroup rose 3 percent after the bank turned in better-than-expected results and disclosed it has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal probe into its mortgage securities business. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs, due to report earnings Tuesday, also got a lift.

All told, the three major stock indexes notched their second gain in two days. That's a turnaround from last week, when the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.9 percent, its worst showing since April.

Concern about Portugal's Espirito Santo International, which reportedly missed a debt payment last week, harked back to issues that spawned Europe's debt crisis.

On Monday, investors appeared to be reassured any problems would be contained.

"Investors are saying if this Portugal thing really isn't significant from an impact standpoint, and the earnings are coming in good ... stocks ought to be going higher," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investments.

The major indexes rose in premarket trading as investors digested Citigroup's earnings. They opened in the green and held steady through the entire session.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.53 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,977.10. The index is down 0.4 percent from its most recent all-time high of 1,985.44 set July 3.

Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by energy stocks. Utilities fell the most.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 111.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,055.42. The Dow is down slightly from its July 3 record of 17,068.65.

The Nasdaq composite gained 24.93 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,440.42.

The three stock indexes are all up for the year.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.54 percent from 2.52 percent late Friday.

With the market trading near all-time highs, investors will be focused this week on a large number of corporate earnings, including quarterly reports from General Electric, Google, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson.

So far investors like what they see.

"We got started off with a very good report out of Citibank this morning," Orlando said. "And economic news this week - retail sales, capacity utilization, housing data, confidence data - is all supposed to be pretty good."

Citigroup rose $1.42, or 3 percent, to $48.42.

Several other big investment banks also rose. Morgan Stanley added 40 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $31.81, while Goldman Sachs rose $2.20, or 1.3 percent, to $167. JPMorgan Chase climbed 49 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $56.29.

Recent data point to an improving U.S. economy after a slow start this year.

Employers added 288,000 jobs last month, the fifth straight month of gains above 200,000. And the national unemployment rate slid to 6.1 percent, a 5 1/2-year low.

More people with jobs means more paychecks, which could boost consumer spending and growth.

"You're starting to stack up some fairly impressive jobs numbers," said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. "There's a lot of momentum to this market."

That momentum is helping drive corporate deals. On Monday, generic drugmaker Mylan said it agreed to buy Abbott Laboratories' generic-drug business in developed markets for $5.3 billion. Mylan's stock added $1.04, or 2.1 percent, to $51.24, while shares of Abbott gained 52 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $41.82.

Meanwhile, Kindred Healthcare said it would pay $16 per share to buy up to a 14.9 percent stake in Gentiva Health Services. That's just short of the 15 percent limit imposed by a shareholder rights plan that Gentiva's board adopted earlier this year. Kindred climbed 36 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $24.74, while Gentiva gained 39 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $16.21.

In other deal news, Kodiak Oil & Gas agreed to sell itself to Whiting Petroleum in an all-stock deal. Kodiak rose 68 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $14.91. Whiting jumped $6.04, or 7.7 percent, to $84.58.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:48:34 GMT
    Dozens of Palestinian families trapped by clashes between Hamas militants and Israeli troops are scrambling to flee a southern Gaza Strip neighborhood as Israel reported that two more of its soldiers have died in...
    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to at...
  • UN says civilians make up most of Gaza deaths

    UN says civilians make up most of Gaza deaths

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:33:21 GMT
    Shopkeepers say they were sitting outside their shuttered businesses Wednesday, catching a break from being cooped up during wartime, when an Israeli missile struck a nearby mosque, killing a truck driver and...
    Shopkeepers say they were sitting outside their shuttered businesses Wednesday, catching a break from being cooped up during wartime, when an Israeli missile struck a nearby mosque, killing a truck driver and wounding 45...
  • 2 bombs kill at least 39 in Kaduna, north Nigeria

    2 bombs kill at least 39 in Kaduna, north Nigeria

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:32 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:32:50 GMT
    Police say at least 25 people were killed Wednesday by two bombings in the northern city of Kaduna.
    Bomb blasts appearing to target former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and a prominent moderate Muslim cleric killed dozens of people Wednesday, but left both leaders unharmed, according to Nigerian state security.