Markets ended the day in the green after reversing midday losses. The Dow (^DJI) ended the day slightly higher, gaining 87 points or 0.5%. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed essentially flat for the day, losing 0.03%. And the S&P 500 (^GSPC) ended the day up marginally, gaining 0.3%.
Bank of America (BAC) said it would suspend its dividend increase and $4 billion share buyback plan after it discovered errors in data related to its 2009 purchase of Merrill Lynch. B of A said it found flaws in the data it submitted to the Federal Reserve as part of a financial stress test. The errors made it appear the bank had more capital than it actually does. The Fed forced BofA to suspend its shareholder capital distribution and said it has 30 days to resubmit the capital plan.
On the heels of the news that Pfizer (PFE) made another bid for AstraZeneca (AZN), -- this time for $100 billion -- it was announced Forest Laboratories (FRX) agreed to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX) in a deal worth about $1.5 billion. The acquisition will expand Forest’s treatments in gastroenterology. Forest is in the process of being taken over by the Ireland-based pharmaceutical company Actavis (ACT) for $25 billion. Forest doesn’t anticipate its acquisition of Furiex will impact the timing of the Actavis acquisition. Furiex jumped nearly 29% on the day, while Forest ended the day down 0.4% and Actavis closed down 0.6%
Microsoft (MSFT) announced a lineup of original programming that can be seen on its Xbox game consoles. It wasn’t revealed if the programs will be available for purchase or available to Xbox Live’s 48 million subscribers. Separately, the Supreme Court today rejected an appeal in a 20-year-old anti-trust lawsuit by Novell against Microsoft. All of this as Microsoft is also working to fix a vulnerability that affects its Internet Exporer web browser versions 6 through 11. Shares of Microsoft gained 2.4%.