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Dow, S&P 500 score fresh highs

US stocks rallied on Monday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 extending record winning streaks amid a fresh burst of merger and acquisition activity on Wall Street.

NEW YORK: US stocks rallied on Monday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 extending record winning streaks amid a fresh burst of merger and acquisition activity on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.82 points (0.11 per cent) to 16,943.10, its third straight close at a record high.

The broad-market S&P 500 edged up 1.83 points (0.09 per cent) to 1,951.27, eking out a record for the fourth session in a row.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index outperformed, advancing 14.84 points (0.34 per cent) to 4,336.24.

Tyson Foods, the world's second-largest meat processor, won the bidding war for sausage and hot dog maker Hillshire Foods against rival Pilgrim's Pride with an offer worth US$8.6 billion.

Hillshire shares jumped 5.3 per cent, while Tyson dived 6.5 per cent and Pilgrim's shed 6.7 per cent.

Antiviral drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals soared 229.1 per cent after Merck offered US$3.85 billion for the company, mainly interested in Idenix's pipeline of hepatitis C drugs.

Meanwhile Gilead Sciences, with a rival hepatitis C treatment, lost 4.1 per cent.

Merck added 0.2 per cent.

Apple shares swung higher on Monday as investors remained upbeat on the US tech giant in the first day of trading after a 7-for-1 stock split.

Apple gained 1.5 per cent to close at US$93.70, still below the all-time high in September 2012 of just over US$100, on a basis adjusted for Monday's split.

Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity said he was optimistic Apple would rally further this year as it launches the larger-screen iPhone 6.

Netflix fell 1.6 per cent as a shareholder effort to push the company to separate the chairman and chief executive positions -- both now held by founder Reed Hastings -- failed to get majority support in a vote. The measure, which passed last year, was non-binding.

Wall Street's king raider, Carl Icahn, sent shares of discount chain Family Dollar rising 13.4 per cent after disclosing he had a more than nine percent stake in the company.

Shares in magazine publishing giant Time Inc. lost ground in the first trading day after its spinoff from Time Warner, falling 0.8 per cent to US$23.30.

Bond prices fell for the second straight session. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.61 per cent from 2.60 per cent on Friday, while the 30-year increased to 3.45 per cent from 3.44 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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