April 22 - Summary: Market friendly earnings from momentum players like Netflix and Gilead, along with a Facebook upgrade before its results, propel stocks back toward record levels. Conway G. Gittens reports.
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
Stocks rally for the sixth day in a row as solid earnings, along with wheeling and dealing in the pharmaceutical sector keep investor sentiment on the mend.
The Dow is now less than 100 points away from touching a record high. The S&P 500 up half a percent, while the Nasdaq gained a full percent.
Facebook doesn't report until Wednesday, but Credit Suisse - upgrading the stock to outperform, betting revenues per user are heading higher. Shares of the leading social network climbed about 3 percent.
Netflix: also a positive force on the Nasdaq. Analysts raised price targets one day after the streaming video company posted healthy subscriber growth. Shares of Netflix are now back in positive territory for the year.
Comcast, the biggest cable company in America, adding new subscribers for the second straight quarter; a rare feat for any cable provider in recent times. That stock was up almost two percent.
And the earnings don't stop there. Gilead, which sparked the biotech rout over its $1,000 new hepatitis C pill - handily beat expectations for both sales and profits. On the other hand, Amgen, the world's largest biotech company, missed forecasts because of disappointing sales of several key products. Keep your eyes on both stocks to see if investors start to differentiate between momentum players after the group hit lows earlier this month.
Botox maker Allergan is the object of a $47 billion unsolicited takeover offer. The suitors: Activist investor Bill Ackman - teaming up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant. Shares of Allergan surged almost 16 percent to their highest price on record. By the way, Valeant traded higher in Canada as well.
But that's not the only drug deal, or potential deal. In Europe, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline traded over $20 billion worth of assets, with Eli Lilly in the mix as well. And Pfizer has put a $101 billion offer on the table for AstraZeneca, according to Britain's Sunday Times.
Drugs - a major factor in the upswing in stock markets in Germany, France and the U.K.
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