Tech stars again as indexes set more records

Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Monday, sending the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes to all-time highs. Technology stocks accounted for much of the rally, which added to the market's gains from last week. Retailers, restaurant chains and other companies that rely on consumer spending also notched solid gains. The S&P 500 index gained 24.38 points, or 0.7%, to 3,352.09. The index's set record highs twice last week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 174.31 points, or 0.6%, to 29,276.82. The Nasdaq climbed 107.88 points, or 1.1%, to 9,628.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10.89 points, or 0.7%, to 1,667.67. Benchmark crude oil fell 75 cents to settle at $49.57 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped $1.20 to close at $53.27 a barrel. Gold rose $6.10 to $1,574.70 per ounce, silver rose 10 cents to $17.76 per ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.56 per pound.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Xerox plans another offer to buy HP

Xerox said it will raise its offer for computer and printer maker HP to nearly $35 billion after a lower bid was rejected. Xerox said Monday that it plans to make the offer about March 2. It will consist of $24 per HP share, including $18.40 in cash and 0.149 Xerox shares for each HP share. In November, HP rejected a roughly $33.5 billion buyout offer from Xerox, saying that the bid undervalued HP. HP said at the time that it remained open to exploring other options to combine with Xerox Holdings Corp., best known for its copying machines. The companies have struggled as the demand for printed documents and ink have waned, and both are cutting costs.


Wis. farmers received $432M in federal aid

Wisconsin farmers received more than $432 million in federal aid amid farm closures last year, but some said the payments did little to fix the damage caused by tariffs placed on dairy and agricultural products. The federal government offered farmers across the country financial assistance through the Market Facilitation Program. Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and owner of a small organic dairy farm, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the payments weren't enough to keep struggling farms afloat. "If you look at the true value of what farmers lost, it didn't even make up that difference at all, so it was certainly something that allowed farmers to pay off some bills, but it didn't clear their debts," Von Ruden said. Program applicants received the aid between September 2018 and November 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those payments ranged from more than $850,000 to as little as $2.


Volvo, Geely could combine businesses

Swedish automaker Volvo Cars and its owner Chinese automaker Geely Holding said Monday they are considering combining their businesses to create a company that "would accelerate financial and technological synergies between the two companies." A combined company would preserve the distinct identity of each of the brands Volvo, Geely, Lynk & Co and Polestar, Volvo's electric brand. The proposal comes at a time when carmakers face huge investments to develop electric cars to meet tougher CO2 emissions limits, particularly in China and Europe, as well as technological innovation like driverless vehicles In a joint statement, the two companies said that a combined group "would have the scale, knowledge and resources to be a leader in the ongoing transformation of the automotive industry." It would be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange "and with the intention to subsequently list in Stockholm as well."

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