Merger and acquisition news lifts markets

Merger and acquisition news lifted the markets to a modestly higher close with the Dow rising 18 points to 16,943. Nasdaq gained 14 points to 4,336.

On the upside

Reuters reported that International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) retained the services of Morgan Stanley to explore a possible sale of the company.

Motley Fool wrote that Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) had become an attractive investment.

Barron's wrote that Office Depot's (NYSE: ODP) stock price had the potential to surge more than 50%.

On the downside

Pilgrim's Pride (Nasdaq: PPC) withdrew its offer to acquire Hillshire Brands (NYSE: HSH).

Raymond James downgraded Maximus (NYSE: MMS) from an Outperform rating to a Market Perform rating.

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) lowered its first quarter and full year guidance.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 added a point to 1951. Bitcoin slipped $2.56 or 0.40% to $647.21.

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