* U.S. home builder sentiment plunges in Feb -NAHB
* Forest Labs surges after Actavis confirms acquisition
* Tesla shares hit all-time intraday high
* Indexes: Dow flat, S&P up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Feb 18 U.S. stocks were slightly
higher on Tuesday after Wall Street's biggest gain of the year,
boosted by Tesla shares which hit an all-time high, giving a
lift to the tech-heavy Nasdaq index.
Economic reports were disappointing. U.S. homebuilder
confidence suffered its largest one-month drop ever in February,
and the New York Federal Reserve's gauge of manufacturing
showing weaker-than-expected reading, but investors quickly
shifted focus to more market-positive news in mergers and
"Much of the recent concern over the health of the U.S.
economy has been explained at the hands of the weather," said
Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers
LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Shares of Forest Laboratories Inc rocketed nearly 30
percent after Actavis said it would acquire the
specialty pharmaceuticals company in a massive cash and stock
deal valued at about $25 billion.
"Just the fact that acquisitions are being made shows that
prices aren't completely out of whack. That's supportive to the
market and it certainly shifts investors' focus from profit
taking," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm
LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Tesla Motors Inc shares hit an all-time high
following a report Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief,
Adrian Perica, met Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk last year,
sparking speculation Apple could be interested in buying the
electric car maker.
Tesla shares rose 3.3 percent to $204.91 after hitting an
all-time intraday high of $205.72. Apple shares were up 1.1
percent at $549.80.
Coca-Cola Co reported global sales volumes below
expectations. The stock was down 3.8 percent at $37.46, weighing
on the Dow.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.44 points or
0.01 percent, to 16,155.83, the S&P 500 gained 3.69
points or 0.2 percent, to 1,842.32 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 29.485 points or 0.69 percent, to 4,273.511.
Shares of BlackBerry Ltd jumped 5.3 percent
to $9.45. Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC Hedge fund disclosed a
10-million-share stake in the Canadian telecommunication and
wireless equipment company.
Swedish mobile phone game maker King, best known for the hit
puzzle Candy Crush Saga, said it planned to raise up to $500
million in an initial public offering.
U.S. stocks had closed higher on Friday, with major indexes
notching a second straight week of gains as investors shrugged
off some weak economic data that was attributed to bad weather.
U.S. markets were closed Monday for Presidents Day.