U.S. Equity Indexes Edge Higher on Low Volume, Volatility Ahead of FOMC Meeting

Helping the NASDAQ Composite to outperform the other majors were shares of Facebook and Netflix, which gained 4.2% and 3.2%, respectively. Amazon posted a 0.9% gain, Google parent Alphabet rose 0.7% and Apple rallied 0.6%.
James Hyerczyk
U.S. Stock Indexes

The major U.S. equity markets edged higher on Monday with technology shares leading the way. Volatility and volume were below average, however, as most major players took to the sideways ahead of the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Tuesday and the release of the central bank’s interest rate and monetary policy decisions on Wednesday.

In the cash market, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2889.67, up 2.69 or +0.10%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 26112.53, up 22.92 or +0.09% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite finished at 7845.02, up 48.36 or +0.63%.

Helping the NASDAQ Composite to outperform the other majors were shares of Facebook and Netflix, which gained 4.2% and 3.2%, respectively. Amazon posted a 0.9% gain, Google parent Alphabet rose 0.7% and Apple rallied 0.6%.

Dow components Apple and Disney were mixed with shares of Disney slipping 0.5% after an analyst at Imperial Capital downgraded the stock to in-line from outperform, citing a “record” valuation.

The S&P 500 Index posted limited gains as oil prices eased, pressuring the S&P Energy Sector.

Pfizer Acquires Array BioPharma

In other news, Array BioPharma shares jumped nearly 60% after the company was acquired by Pfizer for $10.6 billion. Monday’s deal for Array, which garnered a 62% premium to its closing price Friday, suggests just how important the market for cancer drugs is for the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ went on to say that Array’s two drugs, Braftovi and Mektovi, are currently approved to treat skin-cancer patients with certain genetic alterations. The drugs could also play a role in treating some colon and rectal cancer patients, if studies pan out.

Pfizer’s cancer drugs are projected to generate $8.3 billion in sales this year, according to EvaluatePharma.

Sotheby’s Goes Private

Sotheby’s auction house announced Monday an agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, a venture wholly owned by French media entrepreneur and art collector Patrick Drahi.

According to CNBC, the transaction, if approved by shareholders, would result in Sotheby’s returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock rallied more than 57% on Monday morning following the news.

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