Stocks Hold Strength in US Intraday as Corporate News Takes Focus From Weaker Oil

The main US equity indexes were holding their gains on Monday afternoon, looking past a decline in oil futures as corporate news including mergers and earnings took the focus.

Nine of the 11 sectors on the Standard & Poor’s 500 were rising, led by a 0.9% increase in information technology. Microsoft (MSFT) led 22 of the 30 blue chips higher on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, adding 1.6%.

3M (MMM) rose 1.2% ahead of its expected earnings report Tuesday morning and after it was raised to overweight by Barclays. Boeing (BA) rose 1.5% after Reuters said the aircraft maker is looking to increase its business in the $62 billion market for replacement parts and repair services.

With mergers and acquisitions in focus, AT&T (T) fell 1.8% and Time Warner (TWX) lost 2.5% as questions about the impact on competition from their proposed tie-up were raised by politicians. B/E Aerospace (BEAV) jumped 16% after it agreed to be acquired by Rockwell Collins (COL), which retreated 5.6%.

Energy shares fell 0.8% on the S&P as West Texas Intermediate, the main US crude variety and Brent, the international standard, both retreated about 1.8%. Blue-chip Chevron (CVX), due to report earnings at the end of the week, lost 1.1%.

Also in earnings, T-Mobile (TMUS) jumped 8.6% as it reported third-quarter earnings that beat analyst forecasts, and raised its forecast for full-year income. Sprint (S) gained 5.7%.

By mid afternoon, the Nasdaq rose 0.9% while the S&P 500 and the Dow were both 0.4% higher.

Globally, the Shanghai Composite increased 1.2%, the Nikkei 225 added 0.3%, the Hang Seng climbed about 1%, the CAC 40 was 0.4% stronger and the FTSE 100 lost 0.5%.

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