US stocks finish higher amid global equity rally

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 17, 2014
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

New York (AFP) - US stocks Monday finished higher, capping a sunny day for global markets in a rally that gained force from a more optimistic perception of conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16.05 points (0.10 percent) at 16,569.98.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 5.33 (0.28 percent) to 1,936.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 30.43 (0.70 percent) at 4,401.33.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Capital IQ, said stock buying picked up momentum from "a receding of global tensions."

Equity markets also gained in Europe and Asia.

Pipeline and infrastructure company Kinder Morgan announced it will acquire three other related Kinder Morgan entities and merge the companies into a single company in transactions valued at roughly $71 billion. Kinder Morgan said the deal will better position it to grow through acquisition or by developing large new infrastructure projects. Kinder Morgan rose 9.0 percent.

Banana company Chiquita Brands International surged 30.2 percent higher as Brazilian companies Cutrale Group and Safra Group proposed to take over the US giant in a $611 million deal that challenges Chiquita's previously announced merger deal with Irish company Fyffes.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals jumped 15.0 percent as investors look ahead to the company's results on Wednesday. US regulators last week loosened restrictions on the use of its experimental drug to treat the deadly Ebola virus.

Online travel company Priceline rose 2.2 percent as earnings of $12.51 per share bested analyst expectations by 47 cents.

Biopharmaceutical company MannKind advanced 4.9 percent as it announced a worldwide licensing deal with French pharma giant Sanofi to commercialize the Afrezza insulin therapy.

Tesla Motors gained 4.5 percent after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to "buy" because the company's growth profile looks "much steeper" than previously thought.

Bond prices were unchanged. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held steady at 2.42 percent, the same level as Friday, while the 30-year was flat at 3.23 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.