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The Markets Now: Stocks Mostly Down While M&A News Abounds


Today the debt limit debate intensified and eurozone industrial output saw its biggest slump in three years in November.

Economic news began on a downbeat note Monday as the debt limit debate intensified and eurozone industrial output saw its biggest slump in three years in November. Industrial output is down 3.7% year over year. Stocks were mostly down or flat, but several companies announced takeovers and buyout offers.

The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) opened at 1470.22 (-0.05%) and fell 0.18% to 1469.36. The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined from 3115 to 3112.92. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI), however, inched up 0.07% to 13497.

The United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) announced that it would buy TNT Express (AMS:TNTE) for $7 billion, but the bid was pulled after the EU vetoed the deal. UPS climbed 1.77% to 79.30.

US clothing maker VF Corp. (NYSE:VFC) was up 2.38% at $152.55 after it offered to take over Billabong (ASX:BBG).

Swatch Group AG (PINK:SWGAY) has moved to buy the Harry Winston (NYSE:HWD) watch and accessories brand for $1 billion, positioning the company as a competitor to Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF), which partnered with the Swiss watch manufacturer in 2007. The partnership ended in arbitration last October. Harry Winston moved up slightly from $15.16 to $15.17 (in terms of Canadian dollars), up 2.83%. Tiffany stock moved up 1.21% from $60.70 to $61.01.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) announced it is cutting 5% of its institutional securities staff in Asia. The stock edged down to $19.90.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) continued its downward trend, and is 1.1% lower at $34.71.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) suffered after the retailer's holiday same-store sales were down, from a 26% loss in the third quarter to over a 30% loss in the fourth quarter. The stock was recently trading at $17.95, down 1.70%.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) cut iPhone orders, suggesting demand was not as high as the company expected. Shares were recently trading at $503.97, down 3.15%.

Perrigo (NASDAQ:PRGO) began at $103.83, still riding high after it acquired Cobrek Pharmaceuticals. The stock inched up 0.25% to $104.11.

Gold futures went up after falling on Friday, while crude oil was slightly down.

Tuesday's market may be affected by the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the University of Michigan made by the stock market's close.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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