Stocks Finished Flat on Acquisitions

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday, as news of a host of M&A deals competed with sour economic data out of Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 9.52 points, or 0.07%, at 13,973.39. The S&P 500 Index rose 1.05 points, or 0.07%, to close at 1,521.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.78 points, or 0.06%, to close at 3,198.66.
 
The parent of American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE:LCC) on Thursday formally announced plans to merge and create the world’s largest carrier.

AMR Corp. (OTN:AAMRQ) creditors would own 72% of the combined airline under the terms of the all-stock proposal, and US Airways shareholders the balance.

Shares of H.J. Heinz Co (HNZ) jumped 20 percent to $72.50 after it said Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) and 3G Capital will buy the food company for $72.50 a share, or $28 billion including debt.

Brocade Communications (NASDAQ:BRCD) on Thursday reported a fiscal first-quarter loss of $21.26 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a profit of $58.58 million, or 12 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $588.73 million, from $560.64 million. On an adjusted basis, the company reported a profit of 21 cents a share.

CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS) reported Thursday its fourth-quarter net earnings rose to $393 million, or 60 cents a share, from $370 million, or 55 cents a share a year ago. Revenues topped $3.70 billion for the quarter, up 2% from $3.61 billion a year ago.

President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies in the Senate are unveiling legislation Thursday to avoid a looming set of sharp, across-the-board spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic agencies in just two weeks.

Carnival Cruise Lines has canceled a dozen more planned voyages aboard the Triumph and acknowledged that the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before an engine-room fire left it powerless in the Gulf of Mexico.

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