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U.S. stocks opened flat on Monday, with investors taking a pause following a sharp rally on Friday that took the Dow and S&P 500 to record levels. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.10 percent at 17,372.64, the S&P 500 was down 0.01 percent at 2,017.94 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.11 percent at 4,635.654.
** SAPIENT CORP, $24.65, +42.32 pct
Publicis, the world's third-largest advertising agency, has agreed to buy the digital ad specialist for $3.7 billion in cash as it seeks to accelerate growth after a botched merger earlier this year.
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES, $7.75, -12.63 pct
** RCS CAPITAL CORP, Friday close $16.41, -9.99 pct premarket
U.S. authorities have opened a criminal probe in the wake of American Realty's disclosure that it had uncovered accounting errors, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
RCS Capital Corp terminated an agreement to buy American Realty unit Cole Capital, but did not disclose a reason.
** COVANCE INC, Friday close $100.57, +25.87 pct
** LABORATORY CORP OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, $101.66, -6.98 pct
Laboratory Corp, a provider of healthcare diagnostic services, said it would buy contract research company Covance for about $6.1 billion in cash and stock.
** GERON CORP, $2.73, +22.42 pct
The drugmaker said the U.S. FDA removed a full clinical hold on the investigational new drug application for its treatment, imetelstat, for a rare form of blood cancer.
A mid-stage trial of treatment, which is being tested for myelofibrosis, is expected to begin in first half of 2015, it said.
** HERBALIFE LTD, $55.72, +6.21 pct
The nutrition and supplements company will pay $15 million to settle an 18-month battle over a class action lawsuit brought by a former distributor claiming that the company is running an alleged pyramid scheme, according to a U.S. court filing.
** PORTUGAL TELECOM, $1.73, +6.14 pct
Altice SA said it made a fully financed offer to buy the Portuguese assets of the company from Oi SA .
** PROCTER & GAMBLE CO, $86.58, -0.79 pct
Argentina has accused the world's No. 1 household products maker of tax fraud and said it suspended its operations in the South American country, according to a statement issued on Sunday by the country's AFIP tax authority.
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $9.28, +12.21 pct
The South African gold producer, which runs the world's deepest mines, said on Monday it had completed six months without any fatalities, a first for a company that has struggled with the industry's "zero harm" target.
** HSBC HOLDINGS PLC, $50.12, -1.76 pct
The British bank has set aside $378 million for a potential settlement with Britain's financial watchdog for alleged manipulation of currency markets as the bank reported a 12 percent fall in underlying profit in the third quarter.
** RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC, $59.62, +7.35 pct
The Irish carrier raised its annual profit forecast almost 20 percent on Monday thanks to a surge in winter bookings and said it would cut fares by up to 10 percent in the new year to take more market share from struggling airline rivals.
Shares of Kimberly-Clark Corp's healthcare division are expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. Halyard began to see a surge in demand for its protective medical devices in the wake of the Ebola scare. (Compiled by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)