US STOCKS HIGHER BUT KEY TELECOM SHARES FALL

NEW YORK: Shares of AT&T and Time Warner fell on Monday (Oct 24) after their proposed mega-merger sparked criticism from leading politicians, but gains by technology companies helped push the broader market higher.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led the major indices, climbing 52.43 points (1.0 per cent) to 5,309.83.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 77.32 points (0.43 per cent) to 18,223.03, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 10.17 points (0.47 per cent) to 2,151.33.

Time Warner dropped 3.0 per cent and AT&T 1.7 per cent as they girded for tough scrutiny over their merger, valued at US$108.7 billion.

The deal was sharply criticised by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and drew skepticism from several leading Democrats, including vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

Shares of Amazon jumped 2.3 per cent and Google parent Alphabet 1.7 per cent ahead of earnings reports later this week. Apple, which reports late Tuesday, climbed 0.9 per cent.

Action also focused on a series of smaller merger and acquisition announcements and quarterly earnings reports.

B/E Aerospace, a supplier of aircraft cabin equipment, surged 16.4 per cent on news it will be bought by Rockwell Collins for US$6.4 billion in cash and stock plus US$1.9 billion in the assumption of debt. Rockwell Collins fell 6.2 per cent.

TD Ameritrade lost 4.4 per cent following an announcement that it will buy privately-held Scottrade for US$4 billion, combining two large online brokerages.

T-Mobile US jumped 9.5 per cent after announcing that third-quarter net profit more than doubled to US$1.1 billion as it added two million wireless customers.

Kimberly-Clark fell 4.7 per cent after third-quarter earnings and revenues missed expectations, with chief executive Thomas Falk pointing to “a more challenging economic and competitive environment.”

Petroleum-linked shares were mostly lower as oil prices declined. Dow member Chevron lost 0.6 per cent, Devon Energy 2.3 per cent and Apache 1.0 per cent.