* US Oct factory activity slows less than expected
* Factory activity decline in China slows
* Visa drops after offering to buy Visa Europe, drags on Dow
* Dyax soars after Shire offers to buy company
* Indexes up: Dow 0.62 pct, S&P 0.72 pct, Nasdaq 0.90 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Nov 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher on Monday as PMI data in key countries pointed to slowing but stabilizing manufacturing activity globally, and as healthcare stocks rose to their highest in a week.
U.S. factory activity slowed in October. But, while the Institute for Supply Management’s national manufacturing index slipped to 50.1, it was ahead of the expected reading of 50.0.
China’s official factory data on Sunday showed activity unexpectedly shrank again in October, but a private survey showed on Monday that the pace of decline has slowed.
Data out of Europe also showed factories cutting prices to increase trade, even as German manufacturing activity still expanded, albeit at a slower pace.
“The global economy is on track for growth,” said Ed Hyland, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank,
He said any fears about a recession, particularly in developed markets, were fading.
At 11:07 a.m. ET (1607 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 109.23 points, or 0.62 percent, at 17,772.77.
The S&P 500 was up 15 points, or 0.72 percent, at 2,094.36 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 45.33 points, or 0.9 percent, at 5,099.08.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with the health care sector’s 1.75 percent rise leading the advancers.
Pfizer’s shares were up 3 percent at $34.88, giving the biggest boost to the health sector and the S&P 500.
Visa was down about 2.9 percent at $75.32 after offering to buy Visa Europe for as much as $23.34 billion. Visa also reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P 500.
Hewlett-Packard started trading after its split. HP Inc jumped 12.1 percent to $13.71, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise was down 2 percent at $14.43.
Dyax soared nearly 31 percent to $35.98 after British drugmaker Shire said it would buy the company for about $5.9 billion.
TreeHouse fell 5.5 percent to $80.98 after agreeing to buy ConAgra Foods’ private label business for about $2.7 billion. ConAgra rose 1.5 percent to $41.17.
Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 2.8 percent at $622.35 after closing all its restaurants in Seattle and Portland due to a reported outbreak of E.coli bacteria. The stock had been down steeply in premarket trading.
Cosmetics maker Estee Lauder were up 7.8 percent at $86.72 after reporting better-than-expected quarterly sales.
U.S. stocks ended October on Friday with their strongest monthly performance in four years.
As the U.S. earnings seasons begins to wind down, investors’ focus turns to economic data, including Friday’s crucial monthly jobs report, for a clearer picture of the state of the economy leading up to the Federal Reserve’s meeting in December.
“You have a lot of data coming down the pipe this week and you’re kind of in a no-man’s land, waiting for information,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,124 to 789. On the Nasdaq, 1,906 issues rose and 725 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 31 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)