|16:24 EDT||MRK||On The Fly: Closing Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were lower amid another drop in crude oil prices, which tumbled to five-year lows. The market opened slightly lower following weaker than expected data from China and Japan, with nothing of note on the domestic calendar to get buyers involved in the day’s activity. Near noon, the averages gained downside momentum and though the market pared its losses several times, it was never able to gain any steam to pull the indexes back into the green. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no major economic data was released. In Asia, Chinese exports rose 4.7% from a year earlier in November, which missed the consensus estimate for an 8% increase. Chinese imports fell 6.7% from the prior year last month, compared with projections for a 3.8% increase. Additionally, Japan's revised third quarter gross domestic product estimate showed the economy shrank more than initially thought, with growth contracting an annualized 1.9%. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) surged $26.24, or 35.29%, to $100.60 after Merck (MRK) agreed to acquire the maker of next-generation antibiotics for $102 per share in cash, or $8.4B and the assumption of $1.1B in debt. A number of other antibiotic makers also climbed, including Tetraphase (TTPH), which rose $2.45, or 8.82%, to $30.24, and Cempra (CEMP), which advanced $1.64, or 11.37%, to $16.06, while shares of Merck finished fractionally higher, adding 39c, or 0.63%, to $61.88 following the deal announcement. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers following their presentations at the American Society of Hematology, or ASH, annual meeting were Calithera Biosciences (CALA), which gained $2.38, or 22.52%, to $12.95, and Acceleron Pharma (XLRN), which jumped $5.11, or 13.6%, to $42.67. Among the noteworthy losers was McDonald's (MCD), which fell $3.70, or 3.84%, to $92.61 after the Dow member reported a 2.2% decline in global same-restaurant sales in November. Additionally, the fast-food giant warned that its fourth quarter results would be hurt by its sales pressures, supplier issues in China and a stronger U.S. dollar. Also lower were shares of Liquidity Services (LQDT), which plunged $2.77, or 27.0%, to $7.49 after the company disclosed that Wal-Mart (WMT) had terminated a deal to provide it with surplus merchandise. INDEXES: The Dow fell 106.31, or 0.59%, to 17,852.48, the Nasdaq dropped 40.06, or 0.84%, to 4,740.69, and the S&P 500 slipped 15.06, or 0.73%, to 2,060.31.