Stocks ended the first day of the second half paring gains late in the session. The Dow dropped back below 15,000, closing the day with a 0.4% gain. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed with 0.9% gains. The day's big economic data included manufacturing activity, which the Institute for Supply Management says increased to 50.9 versus expectations for 50.5. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector. Meanwhile the Commerce Department says construction spending inched up 0.5% in May to an annual rate of $875 billion. That's its highest level in nearly four years.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) soared over 50% to more than $130 today on news that it's rebuffing a takeover bid in search of a sweeter one. The company said late last night that it's turning down an unsolicited offer from Amgen (AMGN) and putting itself up for sale instead. Onyx is a San Francisco based maker of cancer drugs with several newer treatments in its portfolio. Amgen offered to buy shares at $120 a pop, a 38% premium over Friday's close. Prior to today's rise, shares were up about 12% year-to-date. They hit an all-time high just above $101 in April.
Shares of Steinway Musical (LVB) jumped over 15% to more than $35 on news that the company's being sold to private equity firm Kohlberg and Company. The price is much more than a song; the deal is worth $438 million. Kohlberg is paying $35 a share in cash. That's represents a 33% premium on the stock's average closing price during the last 90 trading days. Last Friday Steinway sold its flagship showroom on West 57th Street in Manhattan for $46 million.
Best Buy (BBY) surged 9% after Credit Suisse resumed coverage of the company rating it as an outperform. Analyst Gary Balter issued the report. He also upped his price target to $40 from $32 a share. Best Buy stock has already more than doubled since the start of 2013. Balter says Best Buy is successfully transforming its big box stores into an offensive weapon instead of a haven for showrooming.
BlackBerry (BBRY) shares fell over 1.5% today. The stock bled more than 27% on Friday after a quarterly report which revealed a loss of 13-cents a share when analysts were expecting a profit of 6-cents. Perhaps a bigger concern was a disappointing number of shipments for BlackBerry's newest smartphones which run on the company's "10" operating system. Many have called these phones the last chance for the BlackBerry to avoid the same fate as Palm.
Meanwhile Nokia (NOK) rose over 3% as it searches for a new path to prosperity. The ailing Finnish handset-maker announced it's buying out Siemens' stake in a telecom equipment joint venture which the companies formed six years ago. The entity is known as Nokia Siemens Networks or NSN. Its profitability has spiked in the past year on growing demand for mobile broadband infrastructure.
Finally, there's 21st Century Fox (FOXA) which rose 2% today. The News Corp (NWSA) spinoff began trading today. The new company includes the movie and TV divisions of Rupert Murdoch's empire. Their separation from News Corp's publishing division is designed to help that part of the business mount a turnaround. Shares of News Corp prior to the split on Friday were up 22% so far this year.
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