Stocks Opened Higher on Corporate Deals

U.S. stocks opened modestly higher on Monday, with a spurt of corporate deals helping the indexes bounce back after six consecutive weeks of losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 54.08 points to 12,005.99. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.56 points to 1,276.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 13.22 points to 2,656.95.

VF Corp., maker of North Face outdoor jackets and Vans shoes, said Monday it would buy hiking boot and sock maker Timberland Co. for about $2 billion to expand its portfolio of outdoor and action brands and in countries such as Japan.

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group said Monday that it will sell a majority stake in its struggling Arby’s brand to a group led by Roark Capital Group, the Atlanta private equity firm. The move marks the end of a short-lived union between the two fast-food chains, and represents a role reversal. Arby’s started as the suitor in the relationship, and ended up on the chopping block.

Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings, the Zug, Switzerland, insurer, agreed to acquire Transatlantic Holdings Inc. for about $3.19 billion of stock. Transatlantic is the New York reinsurer. Terms call for Allied World to issue 0.88 share for each share of Transatlantic.

The Sunday Times, citing an unnamed source, reported that commodities trader Glencore was considering a 12 billion pound ($19.5 billion) bid for ENRC. The newspaper said that Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg has held talks in recent weeks with three investors who control 45% of ENRC’s shares. Glasenberg has also discussed the potential deal with the government of Kazakhstan, which owns 12% of the miner.

President Barack Obama will announce new steps Monday to reduce government waste, arguing that inefficiency, fraud and abuse are especially troubling during tough economic times.

Oil prices fell to near $98 a barrel Monday, extending a big loss from Friday after a report said Saudi Arabia plans to boost its crude production. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for July delivery was down $1.13 to $98.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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