US STOCKS-Wall St higher as biotechs rally on M&A deals

lunes 30 de marzo de 2015 10:08 GYT

* M&A deal lifts sentiment; biotech coming off big weekly decline

* UnitedHealth unit to buy Catamaran; Horizon to buy Hyperion

* Indexes up: Dow 1.5 pct, S&P 1.1 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct (Updates to market open, adds quote)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied more than 1 percent on Monday, with biotech stocks among the most active names amid a number of major deals in the space.

The day's gains were broad as major indexes rebounded off a sharp decline last week, when major indexes lost more than 2 percent. All ten primary S&P 500 sectors rose on the day.

Trading could continue to be volatile ahead of earnings season, which will start in earnest in mid-April, as well as before the March payroll report on Friday. Stock markets will be closed for the Good Friday holiday, leaving investors unable to trade on the jobs data until the following week.

There were four major deals in the biotech space, and three had billion-dollar-plus price tags. The Nasdaq Biotech index rose 0.9 percent but is about 5.6 percent below a record close hit earlier this month. The group has recently been under pressure, with the index down 5.2 percent last week in its biggest weekly decline in a year.

"On the surface, it would appear that biotech is expensive, but if insiders are acquiring, that should give more confidence to broad-market investors," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.   Continuación...