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US STOCKS-Wall St slightly extends gains, lifted by deals

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Jun 09, 2014 18:30 hrs

* Merck to buy Idenix; Analog to purchase Hittite

* Apple sees heavy trading following stock split

* CBOE Volatility Index up, day after hitting lowest sinceFeb '07

* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 up 0.1 pct; Nasdaq up 0.3 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher onMonday, pushing the Dow and S&P 500 to intraday record highsagain after a series of deals, though Wall Street's fear gaugealso bounced back.

If the S&P 500 ends higher on Monday, that will mark its11th rise of the past 13 sessions, and its seventh record closeof the past eight trading days.

The CBOE Volatility index rose 5.8 percent to 11.35following its drop on Friday to its lowest level since February2007. The VIX remains at nearly half of its historical average,which some analysts worry is a signal that the market is notfully accounting for issues that could derail the rally.

A flurry of merger activity gave investors a reason to buysome stocks on Monday. Merck & Co said it has agreed tobuy Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc in a deal valued atabout $3.85 billion. Analog Devices Inc said it wouldbuy Hittite Microwave Corp in a deal valued at $2billion.

Tyson Foods Inc prevailed over Pilgrim's Pride Corp in a bidding war over Hillshire Brands Co,offering to buy the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages for $8.55billion, including debt.

Shares of Idenix more than tripled, surging 231.4 percent to$23.96 on heavy volume, while Hittite shot up 28.7 percent to$77.92. Hillshire rose 5.2 percent to $61.98. Merck, a Dowcomponent, was flat at $57.85. Analog gained 5.1 percent to$55.40. Tyson slid 5.2 percent to $38.03.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.61 points or0.06 percent, to 16,934.89. The S&P 500 gained 1.31points or 0.07 percent, to 1,950.75. The Nasdaq Composite added 11.96 points or 0.28 percent, to 4,333.36.

Earlier, the Dow set an intraday record high at 16,970.17,while the S&P 500 touched an all-time intraday high at 1,955.55.

Apple Inc was the Nasdaq's most active name, rising1.6 percent to $93.73 in heavy volume in the tech titan's firsttrading session after a seven-for-one stock split.

On Friday, the Nikkei news service reported that Apple waspreparing to sell its first wearable device in October, aimingto produce 3 million to 5 million smartwatches a month in itsinitial run.

Family Dollar Stores Inc jumped 13.6 percent to$68.75 as the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer after hedgefund billionaire Carl Icahn disclosed late on Friday a 9.39percent stake in the company, making him the discount retailer'slargest shareholder. Dollar General Corp climbed 9percent to $63.23.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by JanPaschal)



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