US stocks jump on UnitedHealth deal

NEW YORK: US stocks jumped Monday in early trade helped by news that Dow member UnitedHealth would pay $12.8 billion for rival pharmacy-benefit manager Catamaran.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,972.64, up 259.98 points (1.47 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 surged 20.16 (0.98 percent) to 2,081.18, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 38.82 (0.79 percent) to 4,930.04.

Catamaran jumped 24.1 percent to $61.20 after UnitedHealth announced it would buy the company for $61.50 a share in cash.

The deal will create the third-ranked pharmacy benefit manager — the firms that manage prescription drug services between health insurers and insured patients.

United Health gained 3.5 percent

Meanwhile drug developer Horizon Pharma announced it would acquire Hyperion Therapeutics for $1.1 billion.

Horizon rose 14.7 percent, while Hyperion gained 9.0 percent.

US personal incomes rose 0.4 percent in February, while consumer spending edged up by 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported.

A heavy week of data on the US economy culminates with Friday’s jobs report for March.

US stocks fell four of five days last week, resulting in a 2.2 percent drop in the S&P 500.

The Madison Square Garden company bolted 5.7 percent higher as it announced plans to spin off its sports and entertainment business to shareholders in a tax-free deal.

Pharma company Mylan fell 5.5 percent on news that Abbott Laboratories plans to sell nearly one-third of its stake in the firm.

In July, Mylan bought Abbott’s non-US business for $5.3 billion in Mylan stock.

Bond prices were mixed.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held steady at 1.96 percent, while the 30-year rose to 2.55 percent from 2.53 percent Friday.