US stocks : Dow up 0.4 pct
Office Depot Inc surged 9.4 percent to $5.02 after a person familiar with the matter said the No. 2 U.S. office supply retailer was in advanced talks to merge with smaller rival OfficeMax Inc, which jumped more than 20 percent.
News of the potential move came just days after Berkshire Hathaway and a partner agreed to acquire H.J. Heinz Co for $23 billion, and following a revised $20 billion takeover of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Deal activity has helped equities resist a pullback as investors use dips in stocks as buying opportunities. The S&P is up about 7 percent so far in 2013 and has climbed for the past seven weeks in its longest weekly winning streak since January 2011, though most of the weekly gains have been slim.
The Dow industrials closed 0.9 percent away from their record high while S&P 500 was 2.2 percent off its peak.
"Deals are good for the market," said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago. "The fact that they're being done is a positive."
More than $158 billion in deals has been announced so far in 2013, more than double the activity in the same period last year and accounting for 57 percent of global deal volumes, according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence.
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