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Pharma deals, shutdown pact help stocks set more records

The New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 21,

The New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 21, 2016. Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Hefty gains for energy and technology companies helped stocks set more records Monday. Drugmakers announced two major deals and smaller-company stocks climbed after the Senate reached a short-term deal to end the government shutdown.

Stocks were slightly higher in the early going as strong fourth-quarter results from Halliburton helped energy companies, and big technology companies like Alphabet and Microsoft continued their ascent. Starting at noon, after Senate Democrats said they would support a three-week government funding bill, bond yields increased and smaller-companies shook off their early losses to turn higher.

French drugmaker Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ in a deal the companies valued at $11.6 billion, while Celgene will buy cancer treatment maker Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion.

Insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $5.56 billion.

“AIG became synonymous with this $180 billion bailout and here they are making a deal with cash,” said Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 22.67 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,832.97. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 142.88 points, or 0.5 percent, to 26,214.60. The Nasdaq composite added 71.65 points, or 1 percent, to 7,408.03.

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