U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Monday as enthusiasm over a flurry of mergers diverted some investor focus from the upcoming barrage of corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.07 points, or 0.2 percent, at 10,621.03 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 4.06 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,190.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.43 points, or 0.4 percent, at 2,097.04.
Among the deals announced today: Alltel Corp. agreed to purchase Western Wireless Corp. for $4.4 billion, News Corp. offered to buy the portion of its Fox Entertainment Group unit that it didn’t already own, and Movie Gallery Inc. agreed to buy Hollywood Entertainment Corp. for $1.2 billion.
Locally, shares of Torrance-based Farmer Brothers Co. jumped $2.38 a share, or 10.6 percent, to $24.87 as investors wagered that the unexpected death of Chairman and Chief Executive Roy E. Farmer would result in the sale or restructuring of the company.
Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. shares gained 3.9 percent, or $1.26, to $33.46 after the company’s Asset Services unit group won a contract to manage nearly 25 million square feet of California industrial property owned by AMB Property Corp. The deal adds 11.5 million square feet to CB Richard Ellis’ L.A.-area portfolio.
On the down side, Creative Computer Applications Inc. fell 10.4 percent to $3.35 after the Calabasas-based health care information technology firm announced it had signed a letter of intent to merge with privately held StorComm Inc. The resulting company will retain the Creative Computer Applications name and StorComm shareholders will own a 50 percent stake.
And City of Commerce-based 99 Cents Only Stores share price slipped 1.2 percent to $14.49 on news that mutual fund giant Fidelity Management & Research Corp. had dramatically cut its stake in the struggling discount retailer.